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Perky smartphone figures can't stop droop of worldwide mobe sales

Total sales shrink 1.7% in 2012

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Worldwide mobile phone sales fell 1.7 per cent in 2012, a shrinkage of 30 million units from 2011. Increasing smartphone sales were not enough to compensate for the fall in feature phone sales, according to a Gartner report. Total global sales to end users for 2012 were down 30 million units to 1.75 billion from 1.78 billion in 2011.

“Tough economic conditions, shifting consumer preferences and intense market competition weakened the worldwide mobile phone market this year," said Gartner analyst Anshul Gupta in a statement. Gupta added that global mobile phone sales last experienced a drop in 2009 - for similar reasons.

But the analyst firm predicts a rise for 2013, with overall mobile phone sales to end users estimated to reach 1.9 billion units this year, an increase of 8 per cent. One billion of those handsets, 52.6 per cent, will be smartphones, Gartner.

Smartphone sales made up 38.9 per cent of global sales in 2012, a total of 679 million handsets.

Samsung was the most popular brand of phone in 2012: one in five (22 per cent) of all handsets sold last year was a Samsung device. Apple and Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE all grew their share of the global market. Nokia - still the second biggest handset-maker - saw its share of global sales fall to 19.1 per cent from 23.4 per cent in 2011. HTC, LG and Blackberry all saw a drop in market share.

Between them, Apple and Samsung held 32 per cent of the global phone market in the fourth quarter last year, and 52 per cent of the global smartphone market. ®

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