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Q4 phone sales down 10%, 2009 shipments to fall

26 января 2009

The global mobile handset market saw its shipment growth shrink in the fourth quarter to the worst rate since 2001, and may see sales contract in 2009 due to the global economic downturn, research firm Strategy Analytics said Friday in its latest report.


"An economic downturn in both developed and emerging markets caused the industry's weakest growth rate since the fourth quarter of 2001," the report said."This was the first time since our records began that fourth-quarter shipment totals have been lower than third quarter."

Shipments in the fourth quarter fell to 295 million units from 329 million same time a year earlier. Handset shipments in 2008 grew 4.9% to 1.18 billion units.

The outlook for this year appears dour, as major handset makers face increasing headwinds from diminishing demand from a protracted global economic slowdown.

Strategy Analytics forecast that 2009 sales will decline 9% from 2008 to 1.08 billion units. This year will be the "weakest year since the modern cellphone industry began in 1983, it said.

"We expect the first half of 2009 to be very weak, as the industry is hit by a double whammy of slowing post-holiday shipments in developed markets and subdued demand during the normally buoyant Chinese New Year in Asia," the report said.

It added that there will be a gradual improvement in the market in the second half, although conditions will "remain exceptionally tough."

"The many retailers who are currently de-stocking will eventually need to rebuild their stocks later," the report said.

Nokia, the world's largest handset maker, shipped 113.1 million units during the fourth quarter, giving it a market share of 38.4% compared with 40.6% in the fourth quarter of 2007. Nokia saw weakness across most regions, particularly in China, as the operating margin for the handset division fell to the lowest level this decade. It also saw market share in the high-growth smartphone segment drop to 31% in the fourth quarter from 47% same time a year earlier.

Samsung shipped 52.8 million handsets in the fourth quarter, a 14% rise from the same time a year earlier, garnering a record-high 18% share of the market and remaining in second place. But it fell below its target of 200 million units for 2008, partly due to weak sales in emerging markets in the second half of last year.

LG Electronics shipped 25.7 million handsets, up 8.4% annually, overtaking Sony Ericsson in third place with a market share of 8.7%. It sold more than 100 million units in a full-year for the first time in its history, but saw its operating margin slip as well.

Sony Ericsson, the joint venture between Sweden's Telefon AB L.M. Ericsson and Japan's Sony Corp., shipped 24.2 million units during the quarter, a 21.4% fall from 30.8 million units shipped a year earlier. The company will implement an "aggressive cost-cutting program" to boost profitability in coming quarters, Strategy Analytics said.

U.S.-based Motorola (MOT) shipped19 million units in the fourth quarter, down 54% from 40.9 million units a year earlier. The report said that "a fresh pipeline of compelling new handsets" remains its key to recovery in 2009.

Apple shipped 4.4 million units, up sharply from 2.3 million units the same time a year earlier year, due to the wider recession affecting the global economy and the mobile handset market.

"Apple will eventually need to broaden its lineup of iPhones to cover additional segments if it wants to maintain its surging growth over the coming quarters," Strategy Analytics said.

Источник: Total Telecom

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