Posted by: Olga Kharif on July 31, 2009
Nokia, Samsung, LG and Motorola have a reason to rejoice: Sales of handsets are starting to pick up. Global shipments of cell phones rose 4.7% in the second quarter, ending nine month of sales declines, according to consultant iSuppli.
“The moderate increase indicates the worldwide mobile handset market is bottoming out and now is returning to growth,” according to analyst Tina Teng, who authored the report. “Much of the growth was generated by two emerging regions: the Middle East and Latin America. Furthermore, several aggressive promotional campaigns boosted sales in North America, with regional shipments rising by 8% during the period.”
Now, the future looks bright. Shipments should rise 6%, to 280.9 million handsets, in the third quarter, and by another 8.3% in the fourth quarter, which is seasonally strongest. Despite the quarterly growth, shipments for the full year are still expected to contract by 9.9%, to 1.1 billion units, down from 1.23 billion in 2008.
Handset shipments declined by 0.3% in the third quarter of 2008, by 2.6% in the fourth quarter of last year and by 16.4% in the first quarter of 2009. By the first quarter of 2009, shipments had fallen by 58.8 million units compared to before the economic downturn began in the second quarter of 2008.
That said, not everyone agrees that the handset industry has seen its worst days yet. As my colleague Andy Reinhardt points out in his post, researcher Strategy Analytics believes that cell-phone sales actually declined in the second quarter.