According to IDC, third quarter shipment growth drops to 3.2 percent The worldwide mobile phone industry felt the impact of the global financial crisis in the third quarter of 2008 (3Q08) as total handset shipments were down significantly over previous quarters.
Mobile phone manufacturers shipped a total of 299.0 million handsets in 3Q08, up 3.2 percent from last year, and down -0.4 percent over 2Q08. The third quarter of the year has historically been a ramp-up quarter as manufacturers load their sales channels with handsets in preparation for the holiday season, producing year-over-year growth rates as high as 20 percent as a result.
This year has not witnessed a similar ramp up, largely due to the current economic situation.
Ryan Reith, senior research analyst, IDC's Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, said: "Handset vendors felt the pressures of the dismal economy in the third quarter of 2008, and as a result, shipments and revenues were down almost across the board. There were two signs of hope from two major players during third quarter earnings. First, as highly anticipated and now confirmed, Apple reported an extremely successful quarter and noted it is on pace to surpass its initial 2008 shipment estimates. Second Nokia's CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo announced a positive outlook for 2008 despite a tough third quarter. This offers reassurance to all industry players as Nokia has been a clear leader in the mobile phone space for quite some time."
Looking forward to the holiday season, mobile phone average selling prices have already begun to drop and marketing campaigns are ramping up, and competition for buyers will remain high as spending will be a concern to consumers. IDC expects tight economic conditions will make 2009 slower and more competitive as well.
Ramon T. Llamas, senior research analyst, IDC's Mobile Devices Technology and Trends, said: "While the overall mobile phone market registered small growth compared to last year, the market for converged mobile devices (commonly known as smartphones) posted strong gains. The worldwide release of the Apple iPhone 3G earlier this summer marked a major step not only for Apple, but also raised the profile of converged mobile devices as a whole."
"Add on top of that the attention generated by the Google-powered G1, and the converged mobile device suddenly finds itself as the device sought by both seasoned and first-time users," he adds.