Mobile phone sales declined across the globe by 1.7 percent last year, according to Gartner.
The research firm's latest report suggests that difficult economic conditions, shifting consumer interest, and intense market competition resulted in a worldwide drop in sales, which had not declined since 2009.
Worldwide sales reached a total of 1.75 billion units in 2012, a 1.7 percent slump from 2011. However, record sales of 207.7 million smartphones in the fourth quarter of 2012 -- a 38.3 percent hike year over year -- helped drive up the overall figure.
Demand for feature phones remained weak. Sales of feature phones totaled 264.4 million units in the fourth quarter, down 19.3 percent year over year.
The research firm expects worldwide sales of smartphones to dominate the overall market in 2013 -- reaching close to 1 billion units -- whereas total mobile phone sales are predicted to touch 1.9 billion units this year. Feature phone sales are expected to keep sliding.
Apple and rival Samsung continued to dominate with a combined market share of 52 percent in Q4, up from 46.4 percent from a year earlier, Gartner said. According to the research firm, Samsung secured the top spot in both worldwide smartphone sales and overall mobile phone sales.
For all of 2012, Samsung sold 384.6 million mobile phones, of which 53.5 percent were smartphones. In 2012, Apple sold 130 million smartphones.
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