Worldwide phone sales decline for first time since 2009

Worldwide mobile phone sales fell last year as economic turmoil hit shopper appetite, research firm Gartner said.

The decline was 1.7% and it was the first time since 2009 that mobile sales have fallen.

Sales amounted to 1.75 billion units, meaning that one out of every four people on the planet bought a new mobile last year.

A competing research firm, IDC, said last month that sales grew at 1.2% last year.

The firms agree that smartphone sales grew quickly, while non-smartphone sales declined by a roughly equal number.

Samsung of Korea is the world's largest maker of phones, followed by Finland's Nokia and Apple of the US, according to both research firms.

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