Taipei, May 16 (CNA) The global market share of Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC Corp. contracted in the first quarter of 2012 due to slowing demand amid a worse-than-expected global slowdown in mobile phone sales, according to a U.S.-based market advisory firm.
Gartner Inc. said Wednesday that HTC's global market share dropped to 1.8 percent from 2.3 percent in the previous quarter, causing the company to slip from seventh to 10th place among the world's largest mobile phone vendors.
The Taoyuan-based company reported a sharp annualized drop in April sales, the latest indication of the difficulties the company has had in adapting its product line to better meet market needs.
Global mobile phone sales totaled 419.1 million units in the first three months of the year, down 2 percent year-on-year, according to Gartner tallies.
It was the first decline in the mobile phone market since the second quarter of 2009, the firm said.
"The first quarter, traditionally the strongest quarter for Asia -- which is driven by Chinese New Year, saw a lack of new product launches from leading manufacturers, and users delayed upgrades in the hope of better smartphone deals arriving later in the year," said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner.
The lackluster results also led Gartner analysts to adopt a cautious outlook about sales for the remainder of the year, causing them to lower their annual market forecast by around 20 million units, despite the fact that continued roll-outs of new smartphone models should help spur demand worldwide.
In terms of brand breakdown, Samsung Electronics Co. of South Korea became the world's top mobile handset vendor during the quarter, displacing Nokia Corp., which had held the No. 1 spot since 1998.
The list of the top five vendors was rounded out by U.S. electronics giant Apple Inc., China's ZTE Corp. and LG Electronics Inc. of South Korea, according to Gartner.
Meanwhile, research firm IHS iSuppli expressed optimism toward growth in demand for smartphones in China.
Total smartphone shipments to China could reach 132 million units in 2012, double the figure shipped to the region last year, according to the research firm.
(By James Lee)