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February 22, 2010

Global mobile phone sales up 8.3% to 340 million in Q4, says Gartner

Expects better economic environment and changing sales mix to stabilise prices in 2010

By CBR Staff Writer

Global mobile phone sales increased by 8.3% to 340 million units in the fourth quarter of 2009, compared to the same period last year, while smartphone sales increased by 41.1% to 53.8 million units, according to a new report from research firm Gartner.

Gartner said that intense price competition put pressure on average selling prices (ASPs) in 2009 and expects better economic environment and the changing mix of sales to stabilise ASPs in 2010.

According to Gartner, worldwide mobile phone sales to end users totalled 1.211 billion units in 2009, a 0.9% decline from 2008. Major handset producers had to respond more aggressively in markets such as China and India to compete with white-box producers, while in mature markets they competed hard with each other for market share.

Carolina Milanesi, research director at Gartner, said: “The mobile devices market finished on a very positive note, driven by growth in smartphones and low-end devices. In 2009, smartphone-focused vendors like Apple and Research In Motion (RIM) successfully captured market share from other larger device producers, controlling 14.4 and 19.9% of the worldwide smartphone market, respectively.”

Three of the top five mobile phone vendors experienced a decline in sales in 2009. The top five vendors continued to lose market share to Apple and other vendors, with their combined share dropping from 79.7% in 2008 to 75.3% in 2009.

Nokia gained the top spot with 441 million unit shipments and a market share of 36.4%, a 2.2% drop from 2008. Samsung’s market share increased by 3.2 percentage points to 19.5% from last year. Motorola accounted for 4.8% of the total market share in 2009, compared to 8.7% in 2008.

In the smartphone OS market, Symbian continued its lead with a market share of 46.9%, down 5.4 percentage points from 2008. RIM and iPhone OS accounted for a market share of 19.9% and 14.4%, respectively. Android gained its market share by 3.5 percentage points in 2009 while Apple increased their market share by 6.2 percentage points in 2009, which helped it move to the top three position displacing Microsoft Windows Mobile.

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Roberta Cozza, principal research analyst at Gartner, said: “Android’s success experienced in the fourth quarter of 2009 should continue into 2010 as more manufacturers launch Android products, but some CSPs and manufacturers have expressed growing concern about Google’s intentions in the mobile market. If such concerns cause manufacturers to change their product strategies or CSPs to change which devices they stock, this might hinder Android’s growth in 2010.”

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