Worldwide sales of mobile phones to end users reached almost 428 million units in the third quarter of 2012, but that number represented a 3.1 percent decline from the third quarter of 2011, according to a new report from Gartner, Inc. (NYSE:IT). However, smartphone sales, accounting for 39.6 percent of total mobile phone sales, increased 46.9 percent from the third quarter of 2011. Who dominated the smartphone market? Just what vendors does your mobile device management solution need to support? Find out here.

In the third quarter of 2012, the smartphone market was dominated by Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung. (Both vendors together, according to Gartner, controlled 46.5 percent of the smartphone market). With Apple and Samsung dominating the majority of the market, little room was left for other vendors to grab their piece of the pie.

Nokia slipped from its number three spot in the second quarter of 2012 to number seven in smartphone sales in the third quarter of 2012. Research In Motion (RIM) (NASDAQ:RIMM), attempting to make a comeback with its BlackBerry 10 due in January, jumped to the number three spot, and HTC moved to the number four spot. Will RIM and HTC hold their current rankings? We'll keep our eyes open for any movement in the upcoming weeks.

The following points are other key findings for MSPs to take away from the report:
  • Yes, seasonality in the fourth quarter of 2012 will help end-of-year mobile phone sales to end users, however, the boost will be lower-than-usual. Why? This year, consumers are either cautious with their spending or finding new gadgets such as tablets, as more attractive presents.
  • Samsung’s mobile phones sales continued to accelerate, totaling almost 98 million units in the third quarter of 2012, and received 22.9 percent of the market.
  • Apple’s sales to end users totaled 23.6 million units in the third quarter of 2012, up 36.2 percent year-on-year. According to Gartner analysts, the fourth quarter will be Apple's strongest quarter, due to the upcoming holiday season.
  • Android continued to increase its smartphone market share, up 19.9 percentage points in the third quarter of 2012.
  • Gartner analysts expect iOS share will grow strongly in the fourth quarter of 2012 because users held on to their replacement allowances in many markets ahead of the iPhone 5 wider roll out.
Last week, Gartner reported 821 million smartphones and tablets will be purchased worldwide in 2012, and pass the billion mark in 2013.

MSPmentor will continue to follow Gartner's rankings, so keep checking back for further updates.