Nokia seventh largest smartphone maker in Q3 – Gartner

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Mobile handset sales to end users fall by 3.1% in most recent quarter, analyst firm reports.

Finland’s Nokia Corp. slipped to the seventh position in the global smartphone market in the third quarter, as global sales of mobile handsets fell slightly from a year earlier, research firm Gartner Inc. said Wednesday.

Third-quarter worldwide mobile phone sales to end-users fell 3.1% year-on-year to around 428 million units, but in the more advanced smartphone segment, global sales soared 46.9% from a year earlier to 169.2 million units, or around 40% of total mobile phone sales, Gartner said.

iPhone-maker Apple Inc and South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co. dominated the smartphone segment with a combined market share of 46.5% in the third quarter, Gartner said.

Former market leader Nokia had a particularly bad quarter with smartphone sales, and tumbled to a seventh place in that segment, with 7.2 million smartphones sold, Gartner said.

“The arrival of the new Lumia devices on Windows 8 should help to halt the decline in share in the fourth quarter of 2012, Gartner said, but added that Nokia’s position is unlikely to improve significantly until 2013.

In the wider mobile handset market, Nokia’s market share fell to 19.2% from 23.9%.

Samsung took the top spot in the wider mobile device market, as its market share rose to 22.9% from 18.7% a year earlier amid strong demand for its Galaxy smartphones, Gartner said.

Apple was the third biggest vendor in the wider mobile device market, as its market share increased to 5.5% from 3.9%, it added.

Even as total mobile handset sales declined year-on-year in the third quarter, the market improved compared with previous quarters, Gartner said.

“After two consecutive quarters of decline in mobile phone sales, demand has improved in both mature and emerging markets as sales increased sequentially,” it said.

“In China, sales of mobile phones grew driven by sales of smartphones, while demand of feature phones remained weak,” Gartner said.”In mature markets, we finally saw replacement sales pick up with the launch of new devices in the quarter,” it added.