Worldwide mobile phone market declines in Q4 2008

Market research firm IDC reported today that worldwide mobile phone fourth quarter 2008 shipments reached 289 million, a 12.6 percent drop compared to the same quarter a year ago. Total 2008 shipments reached 1.18 billion units, a 3.5 percent increase over 2007.

The drop in Q4 2008 shipments is attributed to a perfect storm of factors that include weak end-user demand, currency volatility, and limited credit availability.

For Q4 2008, the top five mobile phone manufacturers were Nokia (39.1 percent of the market), Samsung (18.3 percent), LG Electronics (8.9 percent), Sony Ericsson (8.4 percent), and Motorola (6.6 percent). Only Samsung and LG Electronics showed increases over Q4 2007 with 14.1 and 8.4 percent increases respectively. Motorola recorded the worst drop at 53 percent.

IDC expects that the 2009 market will remain difficult but there are opportunities as well. In particular, smartphone shipments recorded a 22.5 percent increase over 2007. According to IDC, the smartphone market could continue to shine as long as operators are able to continue to subsidize these devices, and developers continue to enhance applications.

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