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Mobile Phone Sales Dip 3%

Egham, U.K. – Worldwide mobile sales edged down slightly in the third quarter, but the smartphone segment saw an almost 50 percent increase.

The research firm Gartner latest report had overall worldwide mobile phones sales dipping 3.1 percent, but smartphone flying off shelves to boost sales 46.9 percent. Smartphone sales accounted for 39.6 percent of all mobile phone sales for the quarter.

Anshul Gupta, principal analyst at Gartner, said third-quarter sales showed promise because sales improved in both mature and emerging markets. Additionally, while sales were down year-over-year, they improved sequentially.

Gartner stated that 169.2 million smartphones were sold during the period with the category dominated by Samsung and Apple whose combined share was 46.5 percent of that market.

Samsung supplanted Nokia as the worldwide mobile phone leader in the third quarter garnering 22.9 percent of the market on 97.9 million units shipped. This was largely due to the popularity of its Galaxy line, Gupta said.

Nokia fell to second place with a 19.2 share on 82.3 million units shipped, down from 23.9 percent during the previous third quarter. Despite the decline Nokia beat Gartner’s estimate for the quarter primarily on the back of better than expected sales of is Asha full touch products.

Apple retained third place with 5.5 percent of the market, shipping 23.5 million phones, up from the 17.3 million shipped during the third quarter of 2011 and ZTE and LG finished out the top five with 3.3 percent and 2.8 percent of the market. Gupta expects Apple to have a very strong fourth quarter due to the iPhone 5 being available in more markets.

Huawei, TCL, RIM, Motorola and HTC all had less than a 3 percent marketshare.

On the operating system front, Gupta said Android increased its share to 72.4 percent of the smartphone market, up 19.9 points from the same period last year. Apple’s iOS dropped slightly to 13.9 percent. RIM also managed to stay in third place with 5.3 percent of the market, primarily because the company blew out product in preparation for new product launches, Gupta said.