Global smart phone sales growing but affected by economic forces

9 Sep 2008

Smart phones are selling well worldwide, with 32.2 million units being shifted in the second quarter of 2008, representing a 15.7pc increase from the second quarter of last year, according to research organisation Gartner. Of all mobile device sales, however, smart phones’ share remained stable at 11pc.

“Although global smart phone sales to end users [in the first half of 2008] reached 64 million units, up 22pc compared with the first half of 2007, sales increased at a lower rate than in 2007,” said Roberta Cozza, principal analyst at Gartner.

“The current economic climate continues to negatively impact the market, limiting consumer spending and replacement purchases in general.

“In addition, smart phone sales slowed down as a result of new compelling touch technology mainly available on enhanced phones (based on proprietary operating systems) rather than smart phones.”

She added: “Wider availability of new touch smart phone models, together with the global introduction of the iPhone 3G, will help sales of smart phones return to stronger growth in the third quarter of 2008.”

Looking at regions, the North American market stayed among the fastest-growing markets in the second quarter of 2008 with an increase of 78.7pc year on year. The region also accounted for nearly one quarter of the global smart phone sales to end users.

Europe, the Middle East and Africa grew 21pc year on year – western Europe drove much of the growth in the region with a 29.3pc increase. The markets of Asia/Pacific and Japan dropped 4.8pc and 24pc, respectively.

Nokia held the No 1 position for smart phone sales in the second quarter of 2008, with a 47.5pc market share, but its year-on-year growth was about half the market average.

“To stay competitive, Nokia will need to introduce more design variations among its N series models and keep innovating. The expected introduction of a touchscreen smar phone in the second half of 2008 will test the company’s capability to show differentiation and innovation,” said Cozza.

By Sorcha Corcoran

Pictured: the popularity of the Apple iPhone 3G should help to revitalise smart phone sales