Mobile phone sales drop in Europe

As users swap their feature phones for smart devices, the overall European mobile market stalls, according to Gartner

Sales figures for mobile phone sales in Europe declined in the first quarter of 2013, according to Gartner.

Gartner claimed there was a drop of 3.6% year-on-year in the EMEA region for the first quarter of 2013, as well as a 3.8% decline in Latin America and a 9.5% fall in North America.

Analysts said savvy customers waiting to get a better deal were responsible for the lower sales, which could threaten the results of some large mobile players.

“Feature phone users across the world are either finding their existing phones good enough or are waiting for smartphones prices to drop further,” said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner. 

“Either way the prospect of longer replacement cycles is certainly not good news for both vendors and carriers looking to move users forward.”

However, there were positive results in the Asia Pacific region, which – excluding a 7.3% drop in Japan – saw sales rise by 6.4% year-on-year, shipping more than 226 million handsets to its citizens and representing 53.1% of the global mobile market.        

“The Chinese and local manufacturers have been exemplary at addressing the demands of buyers by offering affordable devices with optimum features such as 2.5G (EDGE) instead of 3G in a smartphone,” added Gupta.

“In the smartphone market, local and Chinese manufacturers are making faster inroads as they account for 29% share in the first quarter of 2013, up from 13.2% a year ago.”

Worldwide shipments of mobile phones totalled almost 426 million for the first three months of 2013, while smartphone shipments reached 210 million, up 42.9% from the same period last year.

Samsung held onto the top spot in the supplier league table, growing 13% year on year to sell over 100 million devices in the quarter and raising its market share to 23.6%.

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