LONDON Ė The mobile phone industry shipped fewer phones in the second quarter than it did a year before due to a mixture of macro-economic woe and deferred indulgence, according to market analyst Gartner Inc.
It seems that when it comes to mobile phones everyone wants a smartphone. But the smart choice is to either make do, or wait for anticipated smartphone launches in the second half.
The result is that worldwide sales of mobile phones were 419 million units in 2Q12, down 2.3 percent from 2Q11, according to market analyst Gartner Inc. Demand for feature phones continued to decline, weakening the overall mobile phone market. However, smartphone sales were up 42.7 percent year-over-year in 2Q12 and the category now accounts for 36.7 percent of mobile phone sales.
The anticipated launch of the iPhone 5 is prompting many Apple fans to hold off upgrading with the result that the Android platform has extended its lead while Apple iOS operating system market share reached a plateau, according to Gartner numbers.
Android had 64.1 percent market share in mobile phone shipments in 2Q12, up from 43.4 percent in 2Q11. Apple's iOS market share flatlined at 18.8 percent. All other platforms were less than 6 percent.
Samsung was the market leader in shipping mobile phones in 2Q12 with 21.6 percent of the market up from 16.3 percent a year before. Nokia was still in second place with 19.9 percent down from 22.8 percent a year before. Apple lies in third place with a 6.9 percent market share, up from 4.6 percent a year before.
Samsung's growth in 2Q12 was driven by sales of the Galaxy smartphones, which now account for 50.4 percent of Samsung mobile devices, Gartner said. The Galaxy S3 was the best-selling Android product in the quarter and could have been higher but for product shortages.
Depending on the exact launch date of the next iPhone, Apple might experience another weaker-than-usual quarter in the third quarter of 2012.
Click on image to enlarge.
Table 1: Worldwide mobile device sales to end users by vendor in 2Q12 (thousands of units). Source: Gartner (August 2012).
Click on image to enlarge.
Table 2: Worldwide mobile device sales to end users by operating system in 2Q12 (thousands of units). Source: Gartner (August 2012).
The wait & see attitudes of consumers is a bad trend for handset makers but this can change by innovating in the business models especially in developing economies where opportunities still exist. These are also economies where new phone buy cycles are farther apart than western economies. There is no easy solution for this predicament!
Because Apple is typically a follower on features, there shouldn't be any surprise under the sun. In fact, I would be interested at how far behind Apple's iphone5 is versus those of Samsung / Nokia / HTC.
Since iPhone 3, the market expectation of new iPhone has always existed. Yet, the sales of iPhone has never been hurt much. I wonder why it happens now. Would it be because of the change of form factor? Or sometimes else?
On the other hands, what's more interesting is the overall sales of mobile phone was reduced. It is difficult for me to believe the market has come to saturation. So, is the blurriness of different mobile devices clouding the mobile phone sales?