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Handset shipments to rise by 10% in '08

Posted: 28 Jan 2008     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:handset shipment  W-CDMA  cellphone 

Market research group Strategy Analytics forecasts that cellphone shipments will hit 124 crore globally in 2008, up 10 per cent from 112 crore during 2007.

The firm reported that handset shipments for Q4 2007 reached 33.2 crore units, up 13 per cent in the same quarter in 2006, with Nokia taking 40 per cent of global market share. It noted that some suppliers had "mild component shortages" during Q4 2007, but expects these to be less pronounced by the middle of the first quarter of this year.

Emerging regions, particularly Africa, will continue to drive shipments while saturated western markets—many of them likely to see weak GDP growth—will remain sluggish in 2008.

For last year, demand remained strong in emerging markets, particularly Africa. Nokia sold 13.4 crore handsets for its record 40 per cent share. Samsung held on to second position as 3G shipments surged. Motorola continued to suffer from a weak range of devices on offer, while Sony Ericsson's growth fell to its lowest rate in almost 3 years.

In 2007, Nokia shipped 43.71 crore phones, Samsung with 16.12 crore, Motorola with 15.9 crore, followed by Sony Ericsson with 10.34 crore and LG Electronics with 8.05 crore. The 'others' category of 18.43 crore units brings the total to 112 crore.

The one blot on the figures from Strategy Analytics is that average selling prices for all suppliers declined on an annual basis. For Nokia, tight cost-controls enabled it to achieve operating margins of 24 per cent for handsets.

Retaining the number two position for Q407, Samsung shipped a record of 4.6 crore handsets, growing three times faster than the industry average. W-CDMA handset shipments surged to 73 lakh units, representing 16 per cent of total volumes. This helped its operating margin to grow to 11 per cent in Q4 2007, from 8 per cent a year earlier.

iPhone letdown
The market researchers expressed some disappointment about Apple's performance, "which came in slightly below our expectations, shipping 23 lakh units for a 0.6 per cent worldwide share. The European launch in France, Germany and United Kingdom was handled successfully, but demand from buyers was less frenzied than the U.S. entry in June 2007. High retail prices for the iPhone have been one issue."

But the biggest loser in Q4 and for the year has been Motorola, whose shipments fell a 38 per cent annually, recording 12 per cent global share, the lowest level since 2001. "Without a more attractive lineup of handsets, the pain is likely to continue for Motorola into the second half of 2008," according to Strategy Analytics.

Sony Ericsson continued to see slower growth in shipments. Its annual growth rate plunged from 64 per cent to 18 per cent in just nine months. "Improved 3G handsets and cooler sub-branding from Samsung, LG and Nokia are starting to have a negative impact on Sony Ericsson, as it appears to have maximised the growth potential in its Walkman products," the report stated

LG sold 2.37 crore mobiles in Q4 2007, up 39 per cent on the same quarter last year. This was its fastest growth rate for almost two years.

- John Walko
EE Times Europe

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