Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cellphone Shipments Drop 10 Percent In Q4; Nokia Down, Samsung Up

So the economic downturn is really hurting the cellphone industry..

A lot of the predictions that warned the holiday period would be less than stellar came true: Only 295 million cellphones were shipped worldwide during the period, falling 10 percent from 329 million units in the year-ago period, according to Strategy Analytics, which releases one of the most thorough reports each quarter. The report came out late Thursday night following Samsung's earnings. It concluded that the fourth quarter was the weakest period since 2001 with handset sales increasing only 5 percent in 2008 to 1.18 billion.

Here's the breakdown:

Nokia (NYSE: NOK) still the largest: Nokia shipped 113 million handsets worldwide in Q4 2008, down 15 percent from 2007. Nokia lost marketshare due to weakness in China and in the smartphone segment. Its global marketshare plunged to 31 percent in Q4 from 47 percent in Q4 2007.

Samsung the standout: Samsung performed best during the quarter, grabbing an 18 percent global marketshare. It sold 53 million handsets worldwide in Q4. A breadth of handsets and wider distribution channels contributed. Still, Samsung failed to meet its own target of selling 200 million units for the full-year.

LG Electronics (SEO: 066570) rises to third: LG shipped 26 million handsets worldwide in Q4 2008, and returned to the third position. LG surpassed 100 million units for the full-year for the first time in its history, but failed to be profitable during the quarter and its operating margin slipped to its lowest level for six quarters.

Sony (NYSE: SNE) Ericsson (NSDQ: ERIC) retracts: It sold 24.2 million handsets globally in Q4 2008, falling 21 percent annually. Sony Ericsson recorded its worst profit performance since 2003.

Recovery for Motorola (NYSE: MOT) in 2009: In fifth place, it's possible that a fresh pipeline of new handsets will help Motorola in 2009 because Motorola shipped only 19 million handsets worldwide in Q4, falling from 41 million units a year earlier.

Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) growth slows: Apple shipped 4.4 million handsets in Q4, which is up from a year earlier when it shipped 2.3 million, however, its annual growth rate slipped to 88 percent, which is much lower than the 516 percent in Q3.

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