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Handset shipments to reach 1.24B this year

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 1.24 billion globally this year, up 10 percent from 1.12 billion in 2007.

The firm reported that handset shipments for Q4 2007 reached 332 million units, up 13 percent in the same quarter in 2006, with Nokia taking 40 percent of global market share. The report noted that some suppliers had "mild component shortages" during Q4 07. But these shortages are expected 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 marketsmany of them likely to see weak GDP growthwill remain sluggish in 2008.

Demand remained strong in emerging markets in 2007, particularly Africa. Nokia sold 134 million handsets for its record 40 percent 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 437.1 million phones, Samsung with 161.2 million, Motorola with 159 million, followed by Sony Ericsson with 103.4 million and LG Electronics with 80.5 million. The 'others' category of 184.3 million units brings the total to 1.12 billion.

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 percent for handsets.

Retaining the number two position for Q4 07, Samsung shipped a record of 46 million handsets, growing three times faster than the industry average. W-CDMA handset shipments surged to 7.3 million units, representing 16 percent of total volumes. This helped its operating margin to grow to 11 percent in Q4 07, from 8 percent a year earlier.

iPhone letdown
The market researchers expressed some disappointment about Apple's performance, "which came in slightly below our expectations, shipping 2.3 million units for a 0.6 percent 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 last June. High retail prices for the iPhone have been one issue."

However, the biggest loser in Q4 and for the year has been Motorola, whose shipments fell 38 percent annually, recording 12 percent 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 percent to 18 percent 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 maximized the growth potential in its Walkman products," the report stated.

LG sold 23.7 million mobiles in Q407, up 39 percent 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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