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Worldwide sales of mobile phones to end users reached almost 428 million units in the third quarter of 2012, a 3.1% decline from the third quarter of 2011, according to Gartner (www.gartner.com). Smartphone sales accounted for 39.6% of total mobile phone sales, as smartphone sales increased 46.9% from the third quarter of 2011.
The smartphone market was dominated by Apple and Samsung. “Both vendors together controlled 46.5% of smartphone market "leaving a handful of vendors fighting over a distant third spot," says Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner.
Samsung’s mobile phones sales continued to accelerate, totaling almost 98 million units in the third quarter of 2012, up 18.6% year-on-year. Samsung further widened the gap with Apple in the smartphone market, selling 55 million smartphones in the third quarter of 2012. It commanded 32.5% of the global smartphone market in the quarter. Still, Apple’s sales to end users totaled 23.6 million units in the third quarter of 2012, up 36.2% year-on-year.
"We saw inventory built up into the channel as Apple prepared for the coming holiday season, global expansions and the launch into China in the fourth quarter of 2012," Gupta says. "With iPhone 5 launching in more territories in the fourth quarter of 2012, including China, and the upcoming holiday season Gartner analysts expect Apple will have its traditionally strongest quarter."