New Delhi: Korean electronics giant Samsung has dethroned Finnish major Nokia as the top mobile handset maker with sales of 86.6 million units in 2011, research firm Gartner said on Wednesday.

Samsung, with a sales growth of 25.9 percent, had a market share of 20.7 percent in January-March 2012 quarter, while Nokia (with 83.2 million units sold) had a share of 19.8 percent in the same period, Gartner said in a statement.

Nokia's mobile handset sales decreased 22.7 percent from the first quarter of 2011.

Worldwide sales of mobile phones dipped two percent to 419.1 million units in first quarter of 2012, the first time since second quarter of 2009 when the market exhibited a decline.

"Global sales of mobile devices declined more than expected due to a slowdown in demand from the Asia/Pacific region. Q1, traditionally the strongest quarter for Asia, driven by Chinese New Year, saw a lack of new product launches from leading manufacturers, and users delayed upgrades in the hope of better smartphone deals arriving later in the year," Gartner Principal Research Analyst Anshul Gupta said.

The arrival of new products in mature markets based on new versions of the Android and Windows Phone operating systems (OSs), and the launch of the Apple iPhone 5 will help drive a stronger second half in Western Europe and North America.

"However, as we are starting to update our market forecast, we feel a downward adjustment to our 2012 figures, in the range of 20 million units, is unavoidable," he said.
Sales of smartphones drove the mobile phone market, reaching 144.4 million units in the first quarter of 2012, up 44.7 percent year-over-year.

Samsung took back the world's No 1 smartphone position from Apple, selling 38 million smartphones worldwide in the reported quarter.

Its Android-based smartphone sales in the first quarter of 2012 represented more than 40 percent of the Android-based smartphone sales worldwide, while no other vendors achieved more than a 10 percent share of the market, Gartner said.

The combined market share of Apple and Samsung increased to 49.3 percent, up from 29.3 percent in Q1 2011, widening their lead over Nokia, which saw its smartphone market share drop to 9.2 percent.

"Smartphone sales are becoming of paramount importance at a worldwide level. For example, smartphone volumes contributed to approximately 43.9 percent of overall sales for Samsung as opposed to 16 percent for Nokia," Gupta said.

RIM sold 9.9 million mobile handsets in Q1 2012, with its global share declining to 2.4 percent as competition increased in its international market strongholds.

In the smartphone OS market, Android accounted for more than half of all smartphone sales (56.1 percent) in Q1 2012.

iOS (Apple's operating system) had a 22.9 percent market share, while Symbian, RIM and Bada had a share of 8.6 percent, 6.9 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively.

Microsoft had a share of 1.9 percent in Q1 2012.


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