Expectations that the next-generation Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone may be on its way within the next few months has led to worldwide sales of mobile phones falling for the first time since 2009. According to analyst firm Gartner, 419.1 million mobile phone units were sold during the first quarter of 2012, 20 million units, or 2 percent, short of the number in the same period last year.
The drop in sales was partly a result of the downturn in Asian markets. “We were not expecting a slowdown in Asia,” Gartner analyst Anshul Gupta said in a statement. “China is usually a particularly big market in the first quarter, with the Chinese New Year normally leading to a sales boom. But this year consumers have held off upgrading, waiting for other high end devices, like the new Apple iPhone.”
Gartner added that the fall may be reflected in quarterly numbers of both Samsung and Apple, who both had solid last quarters.
The research firm also confirmed that Samsung was now both the top handset and smartphone vendor in the world. Samsung smartphones made up more than 40 percent of all Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android sales worldwide during the first quarter, with no other Android vendor achieving more than a 10 percent share of the market, the report added.
Apple and Samsung together accounted for 49.3 percent of the entire market, up from a combined share of 29.3 percent in 2011.