The global handset market shrank 8.6% in the first quarter while smartphones continued to boost their share of sales, according to Gartner.
Around 269.1 million handsets shipped during the quarter, representing a year-on-year decline of 8.6% - the largest quarterly contraction since Gartner began monitoring the market in 2001, the research firm said.
“This was also the first time the market contracted year over year during the first quarter, a period traditionally helped by strong seasonality in the Asia Pacific market,” Gartner research director Carolina Milanesi said.
By contrast, 36.4 million smartphones shipped during the quarter, up 12.7%, and smartphones' share of the total handset market grew to 13.5% from 11% in Q1 2008.
Apple's share more than doubled year-on-year to 10.8%. Nokia maintained the top spot, but lost ground to Apple, RIM and HTC. Nokia's share fell to 41.2% from 45.1%, while RIM's grew six points to 19.9%.
Taiwan-based HTC overtook Fujitsu to take fourth place, increasing its share to 5.4% from 4%, while Fujitsu's decreased to 3.8% from 4.1%.
Symbian's dominance of the smartphone OS market has also been threatened, with its share declining to 49.3% from 56.9%.
For the overall handset market, three of the top five vendors faced declines. While Nokia again topped the charts, its share fell to 36.2% from 39.1% a year ago. Fourth-placed Motorola's share slumped to 6.2% from 10.2%, and Sony Ericsson's declined to 5.4% from 7.5%.
But Samsung's strengthened its position in second place, boosting market share to 19.1% from 14.4%, while LG, in third place, grew to 9.9% from 8%.