Vendors Ship 288 Million Mobile Devices in Third Quarter

With quarterly results now reported from Samsung, LG, Sony Ericsson, and Nokia, “ABI Research believes 3Q-2007 has seen strong performance that has gone against the flow of bad news in the global economy, as well as, to a degree, in the wireless infrastructure market,” says Jake Saunders, Asia-Pacific vice-president. “The spotlight will now fall on Motorola as industry observers ponder whether Motorola’s turnaround strategy is starting to generate results.”

ABI Research estimates that the global mobile devices vendors shipped 288 million units in the third quarter, a remarkable increase of 10.5% QoQ and 15.7% YoY. This result helps the industry recover from a slightly soft 2Q-2007. Mobile device vendors are confident that 4Q-2007 should deliver a solid quarter despite some potential concerns regarding North American and European consumer spending confidence. Historically, handset sales have been largely immune to regional economic slowdowns. ABI Research forecasts that the global handset shipment market will round out the year with a 13.5% YoY growth over 2006, which translates to 1.13 billion mobile devices shipped.

Early in the year, Motorola had announced that it was retrenching from emerging markets. Much of the estimated increase in market share by tier one mobile device vendors has been realized through their greater presence and sales in those markets.

“The pace of innovation in the mobile devices arena is not abating,” says Stuart Carlaw, wireless research director. “The most dynamic sectors within the mobile devices sector can be found within the multimedia and corporate segments.” In Nokia’s latest results, its Multimedia Division, which includes sales of its N-Series handsets, and its Enterprise division (the E-Series), delivered growth of 23% and 105%. Its mainstream Mobile Phone division only demonstrated 3% growth in net sales revenue.

Key themes in the latest crop of new models from the handset vendors are the prevalence of slider phone form-factors, larger displays with touchscreen interactivity, advanced personal entertainment features, and the integration of Wi-Fi for fast data download and FMC.

While the mobile devices market is dominated by Nokia, Samsung, Sony-Ericsson, and LG, there is still room for novel and distinctive mobile device players to “disrupt” the marketplace. By Nokia’s own admission, it does not have the luxury to be complacent and is, for example, “paranoid” about vendors such as Apple and RIM.

ABI Research’s “Mobile Device Market Share Analysis and Forecasts” provides the latest data on vendor market share, vendor ASPs and handset shipments, broken down by region, technology, operating system and type.

Founded in 1990 and headquartered in New York, ABI Research maintains global operations supporting annual research programs, intelligence services, and market reports in broadband and multimedia, RFID and M2M, wireless connectivity, mobile wireless, transportation, and emerging technologies. For information, call +1.516.624.2500.