Worldwide mobile phone sales have declined for the first time since 2009, with consumers choosing to wait for Apple's next iPhone before upgrading, according to analyst firm Gartner.
Gartner revealed the market decrease on Wednesday in its latest quarterly report. The research claims that 419.1 million mobile phone units were sold in the first quarter of 2012, marking a two per cent decline from the same period in 2011.
Analysts at Gartner claimed that the lull is largely due to an unexpected downturn in the Asian markets.
"We were not expecting a slowdown in Asia. China is usually a particularly big market in the first quarter, with the Chinese New Year normally leading to a sales boom," Gartner analyst Anshul Gupta told V3.
"But this year consumers have held off upgrading, waiting for other high end devices, like the new Apple iPhone."
Gupta went on to warn that the promise of a new iPhone will continue to impact phone sales, including those of Samsung and Apple itself, which both enjoyed solid quarters despite the overall downturn.
"Samsung has done well to generate consumer interest the same way Apple does around its iPhone devices, but it's still not about the S3," said Gupta.
"It's the iPhone fall release that's important. The promise of a new iPhone will likely affect all Q2 and Q3 sales, probably even impacting sales of Apple's current iPhone 4S."
The prophesied downturn comes despite an increase in the smartphone market, with Gartner reporting sales of the high-end devices reaching 144.4 million units during Q1 2012, marking a 44.7 per cent year-over-year increase.
The increase was led by Samsung, which overtook Nokia to become the world's top handset vendor, enjoying a 25.9 per cent increase in sales.
Samsung also beat Apple in smartphone sales, with its Android-based smartphone accounting for more than 40 per cent of all Android-based Q1 smartphone sales worldwide.
Apple also had a good quarter despite losing out to Samsung, seeing a 96.2 per cent growth in smartphone sales.
Gartner claims that the two companies' growth means that Apple and Samsung smartphone sales account for a massive 49.3 per cent of the entire market. In the same quarter last year, the two only held a 29.3 per cent share.
Apple has offered no official information on its next iPhone, though a number of unsubstantiated rumours and leaked photos have already emerged.
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