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Handset shipments dropped in Q4 08

Posted: 27 Jan 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:mobile phone  consumer electronics  handset vendors  smartphone 

According to market research group Strategy Analytics, global mobile phone shipments dropped by 10 per cent in the Q4 of 2008, compared with the same period in 2007, with just 29.5 crore units shipped.

Full-year shipments are said to have increased by 5 per cent in 2008, to 118 crore units.

This was also the first time since the market research group started tracking handsets shipments that Q4 sales were lower than Q3.

The consumer electronics sector is rapidly following the housing market and car industry into negative territory, commented Neil Mawston, director, mobile wireless, at Strategy Analytics.

Strategy Analytics forecasts 108 crore handsets will be sold globally in 2009, down 9 per cent from the 118 crore in 2008, making 2009 the weakest year since the modern mobile phone industry began in 1983.

"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 many retailers who are currently de-stocking will eventually need to rebuild their stocks later in the year, and this, along with stabilised financial-credit systems, should contribute to a gradual improvement in the handset market during the second half of 2009, although conditions will remain exceptionally tough," said Mawston.

Three of the top 5 handset vendors grew at negative rates. Samsung performed best, grabbing an 18 per cent global share. Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Motorola continued to disappoint, according to Mawston.

Vendor performance

Nokia shipped 11.3 crore handsets worldwide in Q4 2008, retaining top spot by a good margin (nearly 20 per cent), but was down 15 per cent from a year earlier. Its growth rate under-performed the industry average for the second quarter in a row.

Nokia lost 2 points of global market share, to 38.4 per cent, due to weakness across most regions, particularly China. Its operating margin for the handset division is at the lowest level this decade.

The Finnish group continued to bleed share in the high-growth smartphone segment, with its global smartphone marketshare plunging from an estimated 47 per cent in Q4 2007 to 31 per cent during Q4 2008.

With volume and value contracting sharply, Nokia is seen following the lead of Sony Ericsson and Motorola and implementing cost-cuts by shedding 1,000 jobs over the new few months, noted Mawston.

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