Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Cell Phone Sales Up 22% in 3Q

The RED HERRING covers a recent Gartner report that claims "mobile phone sales worldwide climbed to a record-breaking 205.4 million units in the third quarter, a 22 percent jump from the same period last year." According to Gartner, it was the “biggest quarter on record” and the firm is "increasing its worldwide mobile phone sales forecast to 810 million units in 2005."

Carolina Milanesi at Gartner said, “Year-on-year sales grew in all regions as replacement sales in mature markets such as Western Europe and North America continued to drive growth, while users in emerging markets joined mobile networks and acquired their first mobile device."

Sales in Western Europe reached nearly 40 million units, mainly from replacement sales. Milanesi said, "Users in this region continue to be attracted by new models coming onto the market, and vendors shipped quite a few new products in the third quarter,. Operators in Germany and Italy recorded an excellent quarter with the addition of more than 1 million new subscribers in a single quarter."

The North American market grew slightly to 36.3 million units. Hugues De La Vergne at Gartner said, "Despite a slowdown in new subscriber growth, the mobile device market grew sequentially by over 800,000 units, thanks to sales coming from an increase in churn."

The Asia-Pacific region saw sales of cell phones reaching 52.2 million units in the third quarter, which was a 27 percent increase over the same period last year. Ann Liang at Gartner commented, "In China, the buildup to the Golden Week Holiday, which falls on the first week in October, helped to boost sales at the very end of the quarter. Lower-tier phones aggressively priced by operators attracted new users in high-growth third- and fourth-tier cities."

Japan's third-quarter saw handset sales of 11.3 million units with WCDMA handsets overtaking personal digital cellular (PDC) phones for the first time. Nahoko Mitsuyama at Gartner said, "While seeking a new killer function, operators and vendors tried to spread their portfolios to meet varied user needs. Consequently, the number of models available in the market increased almost 30 percent on a year-on-year basis."