Mobile phone shipments up 16.6pc

1 May 2003

The worldwide market for mobile handsets has grown by 16.6pc year on year, according to IDC. The biggest market growth in phone sales over the past year has been the emergence of smart phones with a variety of applications such as picture messaging, which grew by 423pc over the past year.

“The evolution of colour displays, digital imaging and converged handheld devices continues to drive growth in the worldwide handset market,” says Ross Sealfon, research analyst in IDC’s smart handheld devices programme. “Despite continued economic uncertainty, a strong first quarter supported by new technologies and form factors indicates healthy industry growth during 2003.”

According to IDC, within the worldwide handset shipment total, the market for converged handheld devices or smart phones is just beginning to accelerate. In the first quarter of 2003, the worldwide converged handheld device market grew by 423pc year over year and 33.7pc sequentially to 1.71 million units.

Reflecting the convergence of wireless voice and data capabilities, the market is expanding rapidly through new form factors, operating systems and functionality. During the quarter, a number of new Palm OS, Pocket PC Phone Edition, Windows-powered Smartphone and Symbian OS-powered converged handheld devices were introduced to the market. These devices join a number of newly-shipping products, which will drive market expansion through 2003 and beyond.

“At the true intersection of handsets and personal computing, the converged handheld device market is just beginning to grow,” says Alex Slawsby, research analyst in IDC’s smart handheld devices programme. “Improvements in device form factor, coupled with carrier subsidies, are now putting converged handheld devices within the reach of the everyday consumer resulting in a mass market volume opportunity.”

In terms of handset shipments in the first quarter of 2003, Nokia headed up the top five mobile phone makers with some 35.5pc of the market, followed by Motorola with 15.5pc, Samsung with 12.3pc, Siemens with 7.4pc and LG with 5.2pc.

In terms of converged devices such as smart phones that were shipped in the first quarter of 2003, Nokia again retained the lead with 57.3pc, followed by Sony Ericsson with 11.1pc and Motorola with 7.4pc.

By John Kennedy