Global mobile phone market leaders: Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, Siemens, LG

Nokia remained the number one cell phone manufacturer in the world in Q3 2004, according to In-Stat/MDR, a high-tech market research firm. In the period ending September 30th, Nokia had 31.2% market share, virtually unchanged YTY, but up slightly from the two previous quarters. Nokia shipped 51.4 mln handsets in the quarter. Nokia was able to regain some lost market share by sharply cutting handset prices. It paid off in Western Europe, which showed substantial gains. In North America and Latin America, however, the company lost ground. At the same time, Samsung and LG made sizeable gains.

Motorola held onto second place, but just barely. The US-based manufacturer shipped 23.3 mln units, giving it a 14.1% market share, up from 13.9% YTY, but down sequentially from Q2. Close on Motorola’s heels was South Korean maker Samsung, which shipped 22.7 mln units, or 13.8% market share. Samsung’s share has been rising steadily. A year ago, it was 10.3%. Over the course of a year, Samsung’s share has grown 34%, thanks to its quick-to-market approach with mid-tier clamshell phones that feature color displays and integrated digital cameras.

The next three market leaders were: Siemens at number four with an estimated share of 7.3% (it reports earnings Nov. 11), LG number five (7.2%), and Sony Ericsson number six (6.5%). LG has enjoyed steady growth this year as well. The South Korean manufacturer leapfrogged London-based Sony Ericsson in the quarter as it shipped 11.8 mln phones. Sony Ericsson’s shipments were up sequentially to 10.7 mln units. LG’s growth was attributed to strong sales of GSM and CDMA phones in North America, and an expanding WCDMA market in Europe. Total cell phone shipments for the quarter were 165 mln. For the full year, In-Stat/MDR forecasts global shipments of 653 mln mobile phones, a 22% increase over last year. Next year will bring a slowdown, with growth between 7% and 9%, or roughly 705 mln units.