Skip to main content

For First Time Since 2009, Global Cell Phone Sales Drop

Research firm Gartner has revealed that, for the first time since 2009, global cell phone sales dropped during 2012.

Its latest report cited that difficult economic conditions, shifting consumer interest and intense market competition resulted in a worldwide drop in sales last year, which has not declined since 2009.

Worldwide sales of mobile phones reached 1.75 billion during 2012, a 1.7 percent decrease from 2011. During Q4, though, smartphone sales stood at a record 207.7 million units, representing a 38.3 percent increase from 2011. In 2012 as a whole, 700 million smartphones were shipped.

Demand for feature phones, meanwhile, remained weak, with sales totalling 264.4 million units in the fourth quarter, a drop of 19.3 percent year-over-year. Gartner expects worldwide sales of smartphones to spearhead the overall market in 2013 by reaching close to 1 billion units, while total mobile phone sales are estimated to reach 1.9 billion this year. Feature phone sales are expected to continue their sales decline.

In addition to accounting for 103 percent of 2012's handset profits (which is possible because of the consecutive quarterly losses of other firms), Apple and Samsung accounted for a combined market share of 52 percent in Q4, an increase from 46.4 percent in 2011. The South Korean company was the market leader for both worldwide and U.S. smartphone sales as well as overall mobile phone sales.

During 2012, Samsung sold 384.6 million mobile phones, of which 53.5 percent were smartphones. Comparatively, Apple sold 130 million iPhone units.

Contact Us for News Tips, Corrections and Feedback

  • apache_lives
    im waiting for my contract to end to get a Windows 8 phone :D
    Reply
  • twelve25
    They are cranking out literally a BILLION phones a year now. Certainly the market has to saturate at some point.
    Reply
  • m32
    Makes you wonder where all the batteries (for phones that are obsolete) are at?
    Reply
  • twelve25
    m32Makes you wonder where all the batteries (for phones that are obsolete) are at?
    They are supposed to get recycled, but I'd bet half just get tossed into the dump. We'll be drinking traces of them before long.
    Reply
  • stickmansam
    Why would market competition decrease shipments?

    there are only so many people who need phones and we all don't upgrade very year...
    Reply
  • "Why would market competition decrease shipments?"

    Paradox of choice. Given a choice between two or three types of a good, people will gladly pick something, but given a choice between hundreds of types of a good with conflicting and confusing features, people either buy randomly or won't buy at all.
    Reply
  • ojas
    OH NO SMARTPHONES ARE DEAD! THE POST SMARTPHONE ERA IS UPON US!
    Reply
  • devBunny
    Xperia dont h8 the cabbage"Why would market competition decrease shipments?"Paradox of choice. Given a choice between two or three types of a good, people will gladly pick something, but given a choice between hundreds of types of a good with conflicting and confusing features, people either buy randomly or won't buy at all.
    And then there are the obsessive/compulsives who will buy, eventually, it's just that by the time they've sorted out all the features and made up the short lists, there's a bunch of new versions to be factored out. ;o)
    Reply
  • Of course it's settling down, EVERYONE HAS A PHONE ALREADY.

    Just like where the desktop PC was in the mid 00's, the cell phone market is now at that stage where they have to cater to people that already have a phone.
    Reply
  • virtualban
    ojasOH NO SMARTPHONES ARE DEAD! THE POST SMARTPHONE ERA IS UPON US!Excellent call, hahaha
    Reply