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Mobile phone sales under threat in 2008

Only in established market though

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Despite global mobile device sales of 1.15bn units in 2007, market watcher Gartner expects sales in mature markets to drop by around ten per cent this year.

Consumers’ thirst for mobile phones saw sales increase by 16 per cent from the 990m devices sold in 2006, according the analyst's latest figures. However, it claims mature markets, such as Western Europe and the US, are becoming increasingly saturated, which will lead to the number of devices sold slowing. It claims such markets are driven by network operators’ contracts and handset replacements, which will only account for 30 per cent of all mobile devices sales this year.

Countries like India and China helped to push up the sales numbers for 2007, because many people in such regions were buying their first handsets. Closer to home, many people were buying more complex devices, such as handsets with TV tuners, GPS, touchscreens and high-resolution cameras.

For example, Orange said earlier this month that it has sold 90,000 iPhones since releasing the handset to French punters in November. Maker Apple is also “really confident” it will sell 10m iPhones globally by the end of 2008.

Unsurprisingly, Nokia led the market with 37.8 per cent of all sales, up from 34.8 per cent in 2006. Motorola still managed to rock into second place, despite its market share dropping from 21.1 per cent to 14.3 per cent, whilst Samsung took third place with 13.4 per cent, up from 11.8 per cent in 2006. Sony Ericsson filled fourth place with 8.8 per cent, up from 7.4 per cent, and LG came into fifth place with a small increase from 6.3 per cent in 2006 to 6.8 per cent in 2007.

So, what should the manufacturers do if they don’t want their respective market shares to fall throughout 2008? Gartner suggests each should lower their prices and create more fashionable and easier to use phones. Talk about teaching your grandma to suck eggs...

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