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Mobile sales jump in Q4

Supplier News

A strong performance by Motorola set the pace for the worldwide mobile-phone market in Q4 2004, as global shipments hit a record level to 195 million units, up 14.7 percent from 170 million in Q3, according to USanalysts iSuppli.

Q4 results represent an all-time high for quarterly mobile phone shipments that were 11.1 percent greater than the previous high of 175.5 million units in Q4 2003, the firm said.

Q4 capped what had been a robust year for the mobile phone market. Propelled by strong upgrade sales and consumer demand for new models, mobile-phone shipments rose to 703 million units in 2004, up 23.3 percent from 570 million in 2003.

While most of the major mobile-phone makers enjoyed strong growth in Q4, number-two handset supplier Motorola posted the strongest performance of all, with a quarterly increase in unit sales of 36.5 percent. Motorola released new phone models during Q4, including the Razor V3, with a thin form factor that has been popular among consumers, iSuppli noted.

Third-ranked mobile-phone maker Samsung Electronics threatened Motorola’s second-place position in Q3, but the Korean electronics giant suffered a 7 percent quarterly decrease in shipments in Q4, solidifying Motorola’s hold on the second rank.

Number one handset player Nokia grabbed 33.9 percent of global unit shipments in Q4, its highest quarterly market share since Q4 2002. Throughout last year, Nokia released a number of higher-end phones, allowing the company to increase its average pricing for Q4.

Looking ahead, given the mobile phone market’s strong performance in 2004, iSuppli is raising its forecast for 2005 to 740 million units, up 5.3 percent from 2004. However, the market is still expected to undergo significant deceleration compared to 2004. Unit shipments will rise to 740 million units, up only 5.3 percent from 2004, the firm said.

Market dynamics are slowing unit growth, with subscriber growth worldwide declining, and many regions reaching saturation. Upgrade sales represented 75 percent of total shipments last year, with that number expected to reach 83 percent this year, iSuppli predicts.

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