Global handset sales to end-users fell for the first time since 2009 in the first three months of 2012, Gartner claims.
The research firm claims sales fell 2% year-on-year to 419.1 million units in 1Q12 as demand from customers in Asia Pacific waned, and predicts vendors – specifically white label manufacturers – will cut prices in the current quarter to clear inventory accrued at end-March.
Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst, blames a lack of new models for the decline in first quarter sales – specifically for the Asia Pacific market where the period is traditionally strong. As a result, “users delayed upgrades in the hope of better smartphone deals arriving later in the year,” he notes.
The 1Q decline is tipped to have a knock on effect on sales for the rest of 2012, states Annette Zimmermann, another principal research analyst. While she forecasts new Android and Windows Phone devices will spur sales in Western Europe and North America, and new 3G devices from vendors including Huawei, ZTE and Lenovo will drive sales in China, she notes a drop in full year forecasts of 20 million units “is unavoidable.”
Samsung took top spot during 1Q with a 20.7% market share, pushing Nokia into second place (19.8%) and ahead of Apple (7.9%). ZTE and LG round out the top five, with shares of 4.2% and 3.5% respectively.