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Sales of Cell Phones Declined 2.3 Percent in Second Quarter

Worldwide cell phone sales declined 2.3 percent to 419 million units in the second quarter of 2012 compared to the second quarter of 2011, according to researcher Gartner, Inc. However, smartphone sales increased 42.7 percent in the second quarter and accounted for nearly 35 percent of all mobile phone sales, Gartner reported.

Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner, said the challenging economic environment was one reason cell phone sales slowed in the second quarter. However, some cell phone users postponed purchases, waiting for new phones to be launched later in the year.

"High-profile smartphone launches from key manufacturers such as the anticipated Apple iPhone 5, along with Chinese manufacturers pushing 3G and preparing for major device launches in the second half of 2012, will drive the smartphone market upward,” Gupta said.

In the second quarter of 2012, Samsung's mobile phone sales increased 29.5 percent from the second quarter of 2011, as the Korean company extended its lead over both Apple and Nokia quarter on quarter. Smartphones now account for 50.4 percent of all Samsung mobile devices, or 45.6 million units, according to Gartner.

In the second quarter of 2012, consumer demand for the Apple iPhone weakened as sales fell 12.6 percent from the first quarter of 2012, but grew 47.4 percent year on year. Depending on the exact launch date of the new iPhone, Apple might experience another weaker-than-usual quarter in the third quarter of 2012. However, Apple will likely post strong holiday sales in North America and Western Europe in the fourth quarter, Gartner reported.