Gartner considers cutting outlook for 2012 mobile phone sales

In the face of sluggish consumer demand, the research firm is likely to cut its predictions for worldwide sales of mobile phones in 2012.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

Research firm Gartner says that it is likely to slash its 2012 predictions on the global sale of mobile phones.

As a volatile economic climate firmly grips both manufacturers and consumers of technology across the globe, the research firm believes that many will hold back from upgrading their mobile devices.

gartner to cut mobile phone sales 2012 prediction

Gartner says that worldwide sales of mobile phones declined 2.3 percent in the second quarter of 2012, reaching a total of 419 million units. Out of this value, smartphone sales accounted for 36.7 per cent of total sales.

Overall sales of mobile units may have decreased, but the increasing popularity of smartphones has resulted in a growth increase of 42.7 percent in Q2.

Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner, noted:

"Demand slowed further in the second quarter of 2012. The challenging economic environment and users postponing upgrades to take advantage of high-profile device launches and promotions available later in the year slowed demand across markets. Demand of feature phones continued to decline, significantly weakening the overall mobile phone market."

Smartphone sales remain strong for some firms. In Q2, Samsung's mobile phone sales were up 29.5 percent from the second quarter in 2011, and Gartner views the record sales of Galaxy smartphones as responsible for 2012's Q2 growth -- which has resulted in smartphones accounting for 50.4 percent of the technology giant's overall mobile device sales.

According to the research firm, consumer demand for Apple's iPhone weakened; sales dropping 12.6 percent from the previous quarter. However, the iPhone remains popular, as sales increased 47.4 per cent year-on-year.

Nokia's mobile phone sales suffered a blow of 14.8 percent in the second quarter of 2012.

gartner mobile phone sales prediction forecast

Gutpa continued:

"Samsung and Apple continued to dominate the smartphone market, together taking about half the market share, and widening the gap to other manufacturers. No other smartphone vendors had share close to 10 per cent.

In the race to be top smartphone manufacturer in 2012, Samsung has consistently increased its lead over Apple, and its open OS market share increased to one-and-a-half times that of Apple in the second quarter of 2012."

In 2012's Q2, the smartphone operating systems market saw Android increase 20.7 percentage points in market share. Although Apple's iOS has grown marginally year-on-year -- 0.6 percent -- according to Gartner's report, it declined 3.7 percentage points quarter-on-quarter.

Gartner sees the reason for this as the postponing of consumers in upgrading their smartphones ahead of the iPhone 5 launch. However, considering its latest disclosure and considerations in reducing the forecast for the overall sale of phones in 2012, a weakened outlook may be due not only to the anticipation of new models but economic instability.

"For 2012, the overall market is looking weaker than what I had actually forecast at the start of the year," said Gupta. Previously, the firm had expected mobile phone sales to reach approximately 1.9 billion units in 2012.

It remains to be seen whether Gartner's 2012 predictions ring true -- or whether it will simply become another of the research firm's greatest hits.

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