Smartphones See Solid First Quarter Growth
Global mobile phone sales totaled 269.1 million units in the first quarter of 2009, a 9.4 percent decrease from the first quarter of 2008, according to Gartner.
Smartphone sales surpassed 36.4 million units, a 12.7 percent increase from the same period last year.
"There were some signs of a recovery in markets such as North America and China, but overall sales in the first quarter of 2009 registered the biggest quarter-on-quarter contraction since Gartner began monitoring the market on a quarterly basis in 2001," said Carolina Milanesi, research director for mobile devices at Gartner, based in Egham, UK.
"This was also the first time the market contracted year over year during the first quarter, a period traditionally helped by strong seasonality in the Asia/Pacific market."
Nokia held on to its lead in the mobile phone market, but its share dipped to 36.2 percent from 39.1 percent in the first quarter of 2008. Samsung remained in second place and improved its market share as it sales totaled 51.4 million units. After falling to the fifth position in the fourth quarter of 2008, Motorola overtook Sony Ericsson to regain fourth place.
Smartphone sales accounted for 13.5 percent of all mobile device sales in the first of 2009, compared with 11 percent in the first quarter of 2008. Gartner analysts said positive performance by Research In Motion (RIM) and Apple showed that services and applications are now instrumental to smartphones’ success.
"Much of the smartphone growth during the first quarter of 2009 was driven by touchscreen products, both in midtier and high-end devices," said Roberta Cozza, principal analyst at Gartner, based in Egham, UK.
"Touch for the sake of touch’ was enough of a driver in the midtier space, but tighter integration with applications and services around music, mobile e-mail, and Internet browsing made the difference at the high end of the market."