Mobile phone sales reached record levels in 2005

Midsize manufacturers are being squeezed out of the worldwide mobile phone market, even though it grew by 21% in 2005, market analyst Gartner said Tuesday.

At the start of the year, the six largest manufacturers controlled 78% of the market, but by the fourth quarter their share had increased to 84%, allowing them to profit from economies of scale, Gartner said. Smaller manufacturers, on the other hand, are retreating to well-defined niche markets.

Mobile phone sales totalled 235.1 million in the fourth quarter -- over a third of them from Nokia, with 35% of the market, up from 33% a year earlier. Motorola followed with 17.8% of the market, up from 16.3%, then Samsung with 12.1%, down from 12.2%.

None of the other manufacturers had more than 10% of the market. Siemens' market share dropped sharply over the year as it sold its mobile phone manufacturing division to Benq, which still manufactures some phones under the Siemens name.

In Europe and Asia, Nokia outsells its nearest rival two to one, and in Eastern Europe the proportion rises to three to one, Gartner said, while in Asia, Motorola overtook Samsung as the second-best-selling brand.

For the full year, sales totalled 816.6 million and Nokia's share rose to 32.5% from 30.7%. Motorola followed, with 17.7% (up from 15.4%), then came Samsung with 12.7% (up from 12.6%).

The availability of fashion phones, notably the Siemens CL75 Poppy, which has a flower motif on the case, and the pink version of the Motorola RAZR V3 drove customers in Western Europe to replace their phones, Gartner said. In Japan, replacement phone sales were driven by a switch to phones with built-in music players, the analyst said.

Table: Worldwide mobile terminal sales to end users in 2005

Company

2005 sales (millions of units)

2005 market share (percent)

2004 sales (millions of units)

2004 market share (percent)

Nokia

265.6

32.5

207.2

30.7

Motorola

144,9

17.7

104.1

15.4

Samsung

103.8

12.7

85.2

12.6

LG Electronics

54.9

6.7

42.3

6.3

Sony Ericsson Mobile

51.8

6.3

42.0

6.2

Siemens

28.6

3.5

48.5

7.2

Others

167.0

20.6

144.6

21.6

Total

816.6

100.0

674.0

100.0

The table includes iDEN (integrated digital enhanced network) terminals but excludes CDMA (code division multiple access wireless local loop) terminals.Source: Gartner Dataquest (February 2006)

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Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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