Global handset shipments reached 324 million units worldwide in the fourth quarter of 2009, rising 10 percent from 294 million units a year earlier, according to new figures from Strategy Analytics. The research firm said the numbers represented the handset market’s first quarter of positive growth since Q3 2008, signaling an end to the industry’s year-long recession.
Both Samsung and LG again shipped record volumes, while Motorola and Sony Ericsson edged their way back toward profitability. Full-year (2009) handset volumes reached 1.13 billion units in 2009, slipping 4 percent from 1.18 billion in 2008.
Nokia delivered the biggest surprise, registering better-than-expected sales as demand soared for its high-end smartphones. Nokia shipped a huge 126.9 million handsets worldwide in Q4 2009, jumping 12 percent from 113.1 million units a year ago. Nokia may have outperformed in smartphones, but longer-term challenges still remain, including below-average share of the high-growth touchscreen market and a tiny presence in the US market.
On the other end, Motorola forecasted a surprise first-quarter loss, signaling new handsets failed to boost sales. Motorola is trying to reverse three years of slumping sales and recapture the success it had with its 2004 Razr phone by rebuilding its handset business around Google’s Android software. Droid, released in November has proven popular but Droid alone isnt going to save Motorola. It needs more devices challenge the other device manufacturers.
Mobile-phone sales declined faster than overall revenue, falling 22 percent to $1.8 billion. Motorola shipped 12 million phones, including 2 million Web and email-equipped smartphones, compared with 19.2 million a year earlier.