Mobile phone sales up 25% in Q3 2004

Strategy Analytics said Q3 2004 mobile phone shipments rose to 168 mln units, up 25% YTY. Mobile phone makers are expected to sell 670 mln handsets to distributors in 2004, up from around 520 mln units in 2003. This is the result of booming demand from first-time mobile phone buyers in China, Russia, Brazil and India, while at the same time consumers in mature markets replace old handsets with new ones featuring color screens and cameras. The 30% growth rate in 2004, which has brought back memories of the 1990s when unit sales rose 50% or more every year, will slow to 8% to 726 mln units in 2005 as replacement sales are already slowing down.

Nokia remained number one thanks to its strong position in cheap models but still suffered from a lack of attractive mid-priced models as its market share fell to 30.6% from 33.8% in the year-ago period. Motorola’s Q3 market share slipped to 13.9% from 15% a year ago as it focused on profits over volumes. Samsung meanwhile climbed to 13.5% from 11.2%, although it declined slightly from Q2 2004 due to relatively high inventories leaving the quarter. Siemens fell to 7.5% from 8.9% and had LG on its tail, which increased its share to 7% from 5.7%. Sony Ericsson climbed to 6.4% from 5.3%. The gap with the rest of the top 10 remained too large for new players to challenge their bigger rivals any time soon.