Mobile phone market shows growth

The mobile phone market has shown significant growth in third quarter of this year -- a good sign for the industry, according to IDC.

"The mobile phone market is definitely improving," said David Linsalata, an analyst with mobile devices at IDC.

The research firm is placing the growth at just over 21 per cent of worldwide phone shipments, as the top five mobile phone vendors continued to gain back market share after a dip in the first quarter of 2003. These findings are based on results of IDC's latest quarterly measurements of worldwide unit shipments and vendor market shares.

There are a couple of different factors driving the growth.

First off, there is a strong demand for new handsets from first time buyers in emerging markets such as India and China and there is also a growing number of replacement sales in establishment markets such as Europe and North America, Linsalata said.

Camera phones and phones with color screens are the two significant drivers for replacing mobile phones right now, according to IDC.

The market is also experiencing sequential growth of 14 per cent, which has propelled the market to increase from 114 million units shipped in the second quarter 2003 to about 130 million in the third quarter, Linsalata said.

"This is the first time this year that all of the top five vendors have posted sequential growth, which is a great sign for the industry," he said.

IDC found Nokia lost some market share, but maintained its lead in the market. Motorola and Samsung Electronics also gained market share, while LG Electronics just passed Ericsson Mobile Communications for the fifth spot.

"LG Electronics beat out Ericsson into making into the top five, however at this point LG is still behind for total shipments though third quarter 2003 behind Ericsson," Linsalata said. "So as to who will have the number five slot at year end, it will be a close race."

Linsalata said the growth, which is pretty significant, combined with growth from the last quarter, paints an optimistic picture for the fourth quarter of 2003.

IDC's quarterly tracking provides measurements of worldwide unit shipments and vendor market shares.

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