Worldwide mobile phone sales declined 0.9% in 2009 to 1.21 billion units according to a recent report from Gartner.

Despite the annual decline there was some good news as mobile phone sales increased 8.3% to 340 million units in the final quarter of year.

"The mobile devices market finished on a very positive note, driven by growth in smartphones and low-end devices," said Carolina Milanesi, research director at Gartner.

Mobile Sales

Nokia was the market leader in 2009 selling 441 million units, down 6.7% from 2008. The next biggest sellers were by Samsung (235.8 million units), LG (122 million units), Motorola (58.5 million) and Sony Ericsson (54.9 million).

Gartner reported that three of the top five mobile phone vendors experienced a decline in sales in 2009 (see Table 1 below). The top five vendors continued to lose market share to Apple and other vendors, with their combined share dropping from 79.7 in 2008 to 75.3 per cent in 2009.

Smartphone Sales

Smartphone sales in the October to December timeframe were up 41.1% to 53.8 million when compared to the same period in 2008. For all of 2009, smartphone sales reached 172.4 million units, a 23.8% increase from 2008.

The two best performers in 2009 were Android and Apple. Android increased its market share by 3.5 percentage points in 2009, while Apple's share grew by 6.2 percentage points from 2008, which helped it move to the No. 3 position and displace Microsoft Windows Mobile.

"In 2009, smartphone-focused vendors like Apple and Research In Motion (RIM) successfully captured market share from other larger device producers, controlling 14.4 and 19.9 per cent of the worldwide smartphone market, respectively.” continued Milanesi.

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