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Worst is over in handset space

31 июля 2009

The number of mobile handsets shipped worldwide in the second quarter was down significantly compared with 2008, but there are early signs of a recovery in the devices space, Strategy Analytics reported on Thursday

And the analyst firm predicts that there will be further improvements in the second half of the year, potentially buoyed by new devices from current strugglers Motorola and Sony Ericsson.

Global handset vendors shipped 273 million units in Q2, versus 297 million a year ago, but that 8% drop was significantly narrower than the 14% year-on-year decline in Q1. The figure was also an 11% increase on the 244.5 million units shipped in Q1, compared with an average of 5% growth between Q1 and Q2 over the previous three years.

The company attributes the slight recovery to improved consumer confidence in certain regions, China in particular, and to partial restocking of some retailers' depleted supplies.

"These factors indicate to us that the global market is showing signs of stabilisation and the worst of the handset recession is behind us," it said.

Strategy Analytics forecasts shipments of 290 million handsets in Q3, down just 5% on the same quarter in 2008, noting that it expects the second half of the year to continue the marginal improvement seen in the most recent quarter.

"By the time of the 2009 Western holiday season, top-five laggards Motorola and Sony Ericsson will have brought a number of new devices to the market, and aggressive promotional campaigns from other vendors and operators should spark renewed interest among consumers," the company said.

Number four vendor Motorola recorded a 47% year-on-year decline in handset shipments to 14.8 million Q2, while fifth-placed Sony Ericsson shipped 13.8 million units, down 43%.

Palm, a relative minnow, has wowed the industry with its Pre smartphone this year, so there's no real reason why Motorola or Sony Ericsson couldn't achieve something similar," Neil Mawston, director, global wireless practice at Strategy Analytics told Total Telecom.

Mawston believes that Moto stands the better chance of the two of producing an "attention-grabbing handset", due to the fact it is based in the highly innovative U.S. market.

"Motorola and Sony Ericsson will not return to their glory days of double-digit market share any time soon, but there is certainly scope for them to launch one or two models that make their rivals sit up and take notice," he suggested.

Indeed, announcing its second-quarter financial results on Thursday, Motorola insisted it is working on a number of new devices that it will launch later this year in time for the holiday period.

The U.S. vendor's devices business narrowed its operating loss to $253 million in Q2 from $365 million in the year-ago quarter, but its net sales fell 45% to $1.8 billion.

Motorola and Sony Ericsson were not the only handset makers to underperform the market in the second quarter, according to Strategy Analytics.

Market leader Nokia shipped 103.2 million units during the quarter, down 15% on-year, underperforming the industry for the fourth consecutive quarter. The Finnish vendor claims a market share of 38%, down from 41% 12 months ago.

Meanwhile in the chasing pack, Samsung shipped 52.3 million devices to reach its highest ever market share at 19%, while third-placed player and fellow South Korean LG shipped 29.8 million units, reaching a record 11% share.

Apple recorded massive growth of 626%, shipping 5.2 million iPhones, but its year-ago figures were particularly low as consumers were waiting for the release of the iPhone 3G. The company raised its market share to 1.9%, up from 1.6% three months earlier.

Источник: Total Telecom

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