SAN FRANCISCO—First quarter mobile phone sales grew less than 1 percent compared to the first quarter of last year, with only the Asia-Pacific region showing year-over-year growth, according to market research firm Gartner Inc.
Mobile phone sales in the Asia-Pacific region grew by 6 percent compared with the first quarter of last year, Gartner said. All other regions of the world saw year-over-year declines in mobile phone sales, according to the firm.
In all, global mobile phone sales totaled nearly 426 million in the first quarter, Gartner said. Smartphone sales totaled 210 million units in the first quarter, up 43 percent from the first quarter of last year, Gartner said.
"More than 226 million mobile phones were sold to end users in Asia-Pacific in the first quarter of 2013, which helped the region increase its share of global mobile phones to 53.1 percent year-on-year," said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner, in a statement.
In the EMEA region (Europe, the Middle East and Africa), first quarter mobile phone sales were down nearly 4 percent compared with the first quarter of 2012, Gartner said. Sales were down nearly 10 percent in North America, 4 percent in Latin America and 7 percent in Japan, Gartner said.
Samsung remained the world's leading mobile phone vendor in the first quarter, posting year-over-year sales growth of 13 percent, Gartner said. Samsung's share of the smartphone market reached nearly 31 percent, up 3 percent from the first quarter of 2012, Gartner said.
"We expect the new Galaxy S4 to be very popular despite being more of an evolution than a truly revolutionary device compared to the S3," Gupta said.
Nokia, which remains the No. 2 handset vendor, experienced a drop in market share of 5 percent in the first quarter compared with the first quarter of 2012, Gartner said. Although Nokia’s Windows Phone sales have sequentially improved, reaching a volume of 5.1 million units, Nokia has yet to see high growth in the smartphone segment, Gartner said. Nokia’s position in the smartphone market dropped to No. 10 in the first quarter, from No. 8 in the fourth quarter of 2012, Gartner said.