By Tarmo Virki / Reuters
Helsinki: Handset makers sold 14% more phones in January-March than a year ago, growing at the fastest pace in five quarters, research firms said on 25 April.
In 2006, market growth was at over 20% level throughout the year.
“Global handset volume continues to increase at a healthy pace. Recent annual growth rates have actually gone up, not down. Emerging markets continue to surge,” said Neil Mawston, analyst at Strategy Analytics.
The world’s largest phone maker Nokia, and Korean vendors Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics, won further share of the market, helped by attractive designs and wide offerings.
“The world’s two largest vendors, Nokia and Samsung grew twice as fast as the market,” research firms IDC and Strategy Analytics said.
Struggling Motorola, Swedish-Japanese Sony Ericsson and Apple, a newcomer to the industry, could not keep up with continuing fast growth on the market.
Sony Ericsson saw its profits halved in the quarter and its fourth spot in the market lost to LG, as demand slowed for its more expensive camera and music handsets.
“We see that the demand on the high end has softened,” Sony Ericsson sales chief Anders Runevad told a conference call, adding that consumers were becoming more cautious.
However, the 14% growth shows the market has been relatively little hurt by worries over global economy, so far.
“Disposable income is being eroded by rising food and fuel prices and worries about global financial markets and slow economic growth are creating a cautious outlook for the months ahead,” IDC analyst Ramon T. Llamas, said in a statement.