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Sony Ericsson kit in demand as world phone sales surge

Beats Nokia et al on growth, profitability

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World+dog bought 256.2m mobile phones during Q3 - 21.9 per more than they bought in the year-ago quarter. Most of the handsets acquired during the three-month period were made by Nokia, but fourth-placed Sony Ericsson showed the highest year-on-year growth, market watcher Strategy Analytics (SA) said today.

Nokia's market share rose to 34.5 per cent, the company's highest percentage since Q4 2003, but still only a fraction of a percentage point above its Q3 2005 share. That said, its unit shipments were up 12.9 per cent sequentially - well above the industry quarter-in-quarter growth rate of 9.3 per cent.

Motorola quit the quarter with 21 per cent of the market, well above Samsung's 12 per cent and Sony Ericsson's 7.7 per cent. LG completes the top five with a market share of 6.4 per cent, SA's numbers show.

Sony Ericsson's shipments were up 43.5 per cent year on year and 26.1 per cent sequentially - thanks, said SA, to demand for its Walkman and Cyber-shot branded phones. Who says having access to Sony brand names isn't an advantage? Still, the company has a long way to go to match even Samsung for sales.

However, Sony Ericsson proved the quarter's most profitable player, recording margins of 15 per cent, two points above Nokia's 13 per cent and well above LG's four per cent. Motorola's margins were 12 per cent, Samsung's 11 per cent.

Motorola managed annual and sequential growth rates of 38.8 per cent and 3.5 per cent, respectively. The latter suggests, SA said, that "RAZR fever" may now be past its peak. Samsung's figures were 14.5 per cent and 16.7 per cent. LG's were 6.5 per cent and 7.8 per cent - this despite the apparent popularity of its Chocolate handsets. Maybe the new Shine series will prove more attractive.

SA mentioned BenQ-Siemens too, pointing to its consistent negative year-on-year growth rate from Q1 2005 through to Q3 2006, when its shipments shrank by a massive 40 per cent. No wonder BenQ HQ decided enough was enough... ®

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