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Credit crunch bites into handset shipments

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Global mobile phone shipments fell ten per cent during the final quarter of 2008, and 2009’s overall shipments won’t be very good either, a market analyst has forecast.

Despite 295m mobiles being shipped during Q4 2008, Strategy Analytics (SA) said the figure was well down on the 329m handsets shipped during the same period in 2007.

What’s more, SA predicted that just over 1bn mobiles will be shipped globally during 2009, marking a nine per cent decline on the number shipped overall last year. If this happens, SA said, the handset industry will see “the weakest year since the modern cellphone industry began, in 1983”.

Factors causing the downturn include retailers reducing their mobile phone stocks and consumers delaying handset purchases because of recession fears.

The impact on mobile phone manufacturers during 2008 was pretty grim as a result. Nokia’s shipments fell from 133m in Q4 2007 to 113m in Q4 2008, while Motorola’s dropped from 40m to 19m across the same timeframe. Sony Ericsson’s shipments went from 30m to 24m.

Shipments didn’t drop for every manufacturer. Samsung’s actually increased from 46m to 52m, and LG saw its shipments jump from 23m in Q4 2007 to 25m in Q4 2008.

Nokia came out of 2008 with a marketshare of 39.8 per cent, up from 2007's 38.9 per cent. Samsung's share rose too: from 14.4 per cent to 16.7 per cent. LG pushed past Motorola, as its share went from 7.2 per cent to 8.6 per cent while Moto's plunged to 8.5 per cent from 14.2 per cent. Sony Ericsson lost a percentage point of marketshare, falling from 9.2 per cent to 8.2 per cent.

SA also had some advice for the almighty Apple, which saw shipments rise 88 per cent between Q4 2008 and Q4 2007 - though that was well below the 516 per cent jump seen in the previous quarter. It said the firm should “broaden its line-up of iPhones to cover additional segments” if it “wants to maintain its surging growth over the coming quarters”. So perhaps an iPhone Nano isn’t such a bad idea, eh? ®

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