Finnish manufacturer Nokia, once the undisputed leader of the mobile market, has suffered a mighty fall from the pole position it once enjoyed. Despite encouraging sales of Lumia series, Nokia has slipped to the tenth position in the smartphone market, according to research firm Gartner.
Nokia sold 5.1 million Lumia smartphones in the first quarter of 2013, according to Gartner. In the fourth quarter of 2012, the company was ranked at eighth position in the global smartphone market. During 2012, the manufacturer sold 39.3 million phones, down 53% over the preceding year.
Nokia said it sold 5.6 million units of Lumia phones during the first quarter of the year, up 25% year over the Q4 2012. The company claimed to have shipped a total of 6.1 million smart devices, which includes its Asha series of smartphones as well. It predicted that Lumia sales would be up 27% at the end of the ongoing quarter.
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However, it is not just the smartphone segment which is a pain point for Nokia. The company seems to be faring not too well in the mobile phone market on the whole. Battling to keep up with Samsung and Apple in the global phone race, Nokia lost almost 5 percentage points of market share in the first quarter, as per Gartner.
Among the different vendors, Samsung took much of the gains, remaining in the number one position with a market share of 23.6 percent, ahead of Nokia on 14.8% and Apple on 9%. Nokia had held a 19.7% share just a year ago.
Those figures followed a 13 percent rise in sales by Samsung, a 16 percent increase by Apple, and a 24 percent fall by Nokia, compared with the same period last year.
So-called "smart feature phones" like those in Nokia's Asha range have limited smartphone capabilities such as Internet and email access and touch screens but are cheaper than the likes of Samsung's high-end Galaxy models or Apple's iPhone.
They are crucial to Nokia's future as it defends its leading market share in emerging economies such as India and Africa, while struggling to keep up in the smartphone race.
Worryingly for Nokia, however, Gartner said that overall sales of the cheaper feature phones were slowing, as consumers kept hold of their phones for longer.
"Feature phones users across the world are either finding their existing phones good enough or are waiting for smartphones prices to drop further," said research analyst Anshul Gupta.
However, on a positive note, Gartner said that Nokia's Windows Phone sales have sequentially improved in Q1 2013.