Samsung and LG Lead Stabilizing Mobile Phone Market

Samsung and LG reached new market share highs during the second quarter of 2009, which otherwise fell by 8 percent from a year earlier, according to Strategy Analytics. Apple managed to hold steady, with approximately 2 percent market share, but Nokia, Sony-Ericsson and Motorola all stumbled.

Global handset shipments fell by 8 percent in the second quarter of 2009, totaling 273 million units, compared with the 297 million units from a year earlier, according to new report from Strategy Analytics.
The decline is said to be slower than the previous quarter's, however, which hints toward stabilization in the market, wrote analyst Neil Mawston, the author of the report. The strongest players during the quarter were, again, Samsung and LG. Apple held steady, and Nokia, Sony-Ericsson and Motorola were ranked as "below average" by the research firm.
Contributing to the 273 million total was first and foremost Nokia, which shipped 103.2 million handsets during the quarter, though this was down 15 percent from the 122 million units it shipped in the second quarter of 2008.
"We estimate Nokia's global smartphone market share reached 40 percent in [the second quarter of 2009], up encouragingly from its near-term low of 36 percent in [the fourth quarter of 2008]," wrote Mawston. He noted that strong offerings, such as the 5800 and E71 phones, were keys to Nokia's turnaround.
Next in line was Samsung, whose market share rose to a record-high 19 percent. It shipped 52.3 million handsets worldwide during the quarter, a significant uptick from the 45.7 million units a year earlier.
"Samsung's growth has been driven by an attractive portfolio of touchphones and QWERTY phones, such as the UltraTouch and Star," wrote Mawston in the report. "Samsung is steadily expanding its smartphone portfolio, releasing new models based on Windows Mobile and Android, such as Omnia II and Galaxy."
LG, whose market share also reached a new high, of 11 percent, shipped 29.8 million handsets worldwide, up 8 percent from a year earlier.
Mawston says North America continues to be LG's strongest market, though it launched an application store in Asia during the quarter and plans to expand partnerships among Tier 2 operators in Europe and South America over the next few months.
Motorola shipped 14.8 million handsets during the quarter, which was down 47 percent annually. And completing the top five, Sony Ericsson sold 13.8 million handsets worldwide, falling 43 percent annually from 24.4 million units from the second quarter a year earlier.
"Like Motorola, Sony Ericsson is patiently awaiting [the fourth quarter], in the hope that its new handsets for the Western holiday season, such as the Aino gaming phone and Satio smartphone, can help return the company toward profitability," wrote Mawston.
Apple, notably, shipped 5.2 million iPhones worldwide during the second quarter-a 626 percent increase from a year earlier, when consumers were holding off on purchases in anticipation of a device refresh in the third quarter.
Apple's market share grew from 1.6 percent in the first quarter of 2009 to 1.9 percent in the second.
Overall, the handset market showed a sequential shipment gain of 11 percent over the first quarter, which Mawston writes is better than the previous three years' average, of 5 percent, during the same quarterly time frame.
Improved consumer confidence in some regions and a partial restocking of some retailers' supplies, wrote Mawston, "indicate to us that the global market is showing signs of stabilization and the worst of the handset recession may be behind us."
For the third quarter of 2009, Strategy Analytics is expecting handset shipments worldwide to reach 290 million units.