Global mobile phone sales declined in 2012; Apple #3

Worldwide mobile phone sales to end users totaled 1.75 billion units in 2012, a 1.7 percent decline from 2011 sales, according to Gartner, Inc. Smartphones continued to drive overall mobile phone sales, and the fourth quarter of 2012 saw record smartphone sales of 207.7 million units, up 38.3 percent from the same period last year.

Apple’s number three in overall phone sales, not just smartphone sales, according to Gartner’s figures. Samsung leads with 22.7 percent marketshare – a figure Gartner attributes to Samsung’s strong placement not only in the Android market, where it is far and away the market leader, but also with less expensive feature phones. Nokia trails in second place with 18.0 percent, the lowest it’s ever been, according to Gartner, with demand diminishing 53.6 percent year over year. Apple comes in third at 9.2 percent, with 43.5 million units sold – a 22.7 percent year over year increase.

  • I bet Apple is content in third place at 9.2% too, considering their profit share. It feels like the Mac marketshare number. Wasn’t it 9% for years and just broke 10% a year or so ago?

    Poor Nokia. I used to hold them in such high esteem. I hope they can come back from these steady declines.

    • JohnDoey

      The Mac takes 90% of PC sales at $999-and-up, or 15% of all Intel-based systems, or 75% of all profits in the Intel-based market. If you include iPad, the Mac share drops quite a bit but then Apple has 25% of the whole market. Choose your number.

      • You can’t leave out < $1k PC sales just ’cause Apple chooses to charge more/not compete less than 1k. That’s realllllly grasping for a straw.

        Yeah, including the iPad is a different argument. It isn’t in the same class as a MBP, iMac, etc so I simply don’t choose to acknowledge that argument; although, it is fun to play w/ those numbers.

  • Lots of room for Apple to grow.

  • JohnDoey

    The interesting thing is Apple is available in roughly 50% of the workd’s phone markets (room for growth) and has no low-cost prepay phone yet (more room for growth.) At the same time, Samsung just warned their investors that 2013 will be wore than 2012 because their ASP has crashed. They blame the fact that you can get Android anywhere.

    • rj

      I don’t think there’s that much growth left for the iPhone as it exists today: I’m pretty sure the iPhone is available in virtually every country where there is a significant number of people willing and able to spend $800 or even $500 on a new phone (the “50% of markets” they’re not in presumably represents a tiny fraction of the population and wealth of the 50% of markets that they are in). And unless Apple can pull off something spectacular with iOS7/iPhone 6, their margins are going to come under pressure – Android is closing the gap, and I think an increasing number of customers are going to opt for “good enough” devices like the Nexus 4.

      I think there is enormous room to expand the user base with a lower end model, but of course you have to sell quite a few $199-$299 phones at 30% margins to equal the return on a single $800 phone at 50%+ margin. At that point, perhaps iTunes and the long-rumored electronic payments platform become a more important part of profitability.