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Global mobile phone market to slow down

By Agencies



Research firm Gartner said it expects the mobile phone market to slow down by about 10 per cent in 2008 as mature markets plateau, but strength in emerging markets would help the industry weather a recession in the US and Western Europe.


Gartner said 1.15 billion mobile phone devices were sold in 2007, up from the 990.9 million sold in 2006.


Finnish mobile phone goliath Nokia Corporation pulled away from competition, ending the year with a fourth-quarter 40.4 per cent global market share, up from 36.2 per cent at the end of 2006, thanks to its strength in the booming emerging markets of India and China, and despite a decline in market share in North America.


Demand for higher-end handsets in Western Europe helped give Nokia a boost.

“Emerging markets, especially China and India, provided much of the growth as many people bought their first phone,” said Carolina Milanesi, research director for mobile phone devices.


“In mature markets, such as Japan and Western Europe, consumers’ appetite for feature-laden phones was met with new models packed with TV tuners, global positioning satellite, GPS, functions, touch screens and high-resolution cameras.”


South Korean handset manufacturer Samsung Electronics maintained its second position with a fourth-quarter market share of 13.4 per cent compared with 11.3 per cent in 2006

Milanesi said its success was due to its Ultra and Ultra II family of products.


US mobile phone manufacturer Motorola Inc (MOT) saw a sharp drop in its fourth-quarter market share, falling 9.6 percentage points quarter-on-quarter, ending with a 11.9 per cent share of the market.


Sony Ericsson, the mobile phone handset joint venture between Japanese Sony Corp (SNE) and Swedish Telefon AB LM Ericsson (ERIC), had a nine per cent fourth-quarter market share, level with the year before.


Milanesi said Sony Ericsson’s widening reach, adding features such as Wi-Fi and GPS and more low-tier products, will help it stay competitive in the coming quarters.


LG Electronics had a 7.1 per cent market share in the fourth quarter, moving up slightly from the 6.3 per cent in 2006. “In 2008, LG will need to continue strengthening its high-end portfolio for mature markets as well as its mid tier,” said Milanesi.

“In the low tier, LG will be challenged by vendors such as ZTE, which has already been eroding its market share in key markets such as India.”


The market saw three new entrants into the top 10 in the fourth quarter of 2007, including Research In Motion, ZTE and Apple.


“On one hand, we have aggressive pricing and a focus on emerging markets, ZTE, and on the other, RIM with targeted functions and Apple with design,” said Milanesi. (Dow Jones Newswires)