In another episode of smartphone warfare in the mobile industry, Gartner, Inc. has published the worldwide sales of mobile phones, reporting that nearly 426 million units were sold. Apple China sales offered the biggest boost, with nearly 7M in sales during this period—largely credited to the lower-priced iPhone 4. Gartner said half of all the mobile phones sold during the first quarter were in the Asia/Pacific market.
“More than 226 million mobile phones were sold to end users in Asia/Pacific in the first quarter of 2013, which helped the region increase its share of global mobile phones to 53.1 percent year-on-year,” said Anshul Gupta, Principal Researcher at Gartner.
“In addition, China saw its mobile phone sales increase 7.5 percent in the first quarter of 2013, and its sales represented 25.7 percent of global mobile phone sales, up nearly 2 percentage points year-on-year.”
That’s two-thumbs for Apple in the east, but the news isn’t as good worldwide. Samsung is the major mobile phone player, selling a whopping 100 million units, with an overall market share of 23.6%. Nokia has 14.8%, and Apple has 9.0%.
It’s not surprising Apple is only at #3 in mobile phone sales, as Samsung has become a formidable producer of affordable smartphones, attracting emerging markets. Although more evolutionary than revolutionary or disruptive, they’ve contributed to a significant decline in Apple’s sales.
In the first quarter of 2013, sales of mobile phones in the EMEA region declined 3.6 percent. The North America and Latin America’s mobile phone market fell 9.5 and 3.8 percent, respectively, while Japan saw its mobile phone sales drop 7.3 percent.
Samsung and Android devices were major beneficiaries in the first quarter. Nonetheless, we’re not even half way through the year. If Apple decides to make a paradigm shift to its flagship devices by introducing new units or cheaper versions of what’s already available, who knows? They might be the one to finish on top in the end.