If consumers were tight fisted when it came to spending on vacations and large purchases, one item that they opened the wallet for appears to have been mobile phones. In the second quarter of this year global shipments of cellular handsets jumped 4.7 percent when compared to the first quarter. This is the first sequential increase for the global handset market since the third quarter of 2008. This is part of the latest findings from iSuppli Corp.’s new report, Mobile Handsets Show Signs of Reviving in Q2. This report tracked worldwide shipments to be about 265 million units in Q2, up from 253 million units in the previous quarter. This follows nine months of declining sales.
But all of these shipments might not have been seen in the United States, said Tina Teng, senior analyst, wireless communications for iSuppli. “Much of the growth was generated by two emerging regions: the Middle East and Latin America. Furthermore, several aggressive promotional campaigns boosted sales in North America, with regional shipments rising by 8 percent during the period.”
The better news is that shipments are expected to rise by six percent to 280.9 million in this quarter, and could surpass 304 million in the fourth. iSuppli’s report further indicates that the best performance in this recent quarter was from South Korea’s LG Electronics, which has seen good success in emerging markets, including the Middle East and Africa.
Motorola has retained a number four place in the market, reports iSuppli. And Bloomberg News also reported last week that the biggest U.S. mobile phone maker saw narrower second-quarter less than analysts had predicted. With Google Android phones on deck for this holiday season, Motorola could turn things around.
However, maybe Motorola shouldn’t hedge all its bets with Google Android. It was also reported late last week that HTC, the maker of the Google Android powered G1 phone had lowered its 2009 revenue forecast based on slower than expected sales of new smartphones, along with a slower-than-expected completion of China’s 3G mobile networks, according to findings from other analysts. Research firm IDC said that a smartphone price war is being waged, and while consumers are winners, this is hurting the bottom line of some of the makers.
Rounding out the other major players, number one phone maker Nokia retains it dominant position, but still faces rising competition from Samsung. Nokia was up 2.1 percentage points, while Samsung remains on track to sell more than 200 million mobile handsets by year’s end. However, where there is good news for some, there is bad news for others. Sony Ericsson saw market share dip by 0.5 percent, while company shipments declined by 4.8 percent. iSuppli’s Teng blames this on the product portfolio, which “has not been adequately aligned with the two fastest-growing segments smartphones and ultra-low-cost handsets.”
How Not to Handle Mobile Phone on Live TV
You would think Sir Michael Jackson – the British general, not the dead pop star – would be better at handling stressful situations. But when appearing on live TV to discuss the current situation in Afghanistan, his mobile phone rang and he couldn’t turn it off (video available here). He opted to toss the phone across the room, much like it was a hand grenade waiting to go off. This was not only conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman, not to mention a holder of the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath; but shouldn’t happen to anyone appearing on live TV.