The recession appears to have ended, at least when it comes to handset sales. The global handset market rebound with double-digit growth in the fourth quarter as the holiday season and pent-up demand accelerated sales, according to research firms IDC and Strategy Analytics.
“The 10 percent increase was the handset market’s first quarter of positive growth since the [third quarter of] 2008, signaling and end to the industry’s recession, which first began during [the fourth quarter of] 2008 and lasted for four quarters,” Strategy Analytics Director Neil Mawston said in a research report.
Strategy Analytics reported that handset shipments grew 10 percent in the fourth quarter, to 324 million units. IDC gave a slightly more optimistic view, reporting that the worldwide mobile phone market grew 11.3 percent on shipments of 325.3 million units.
IDC Senior Research Analyst Kevin Restivo said main growth drivers were demand in the United States and Asia/Pacific region.
Nokia held its long-term spot has the No. 1 handset vendor in terms of shipments, with Samsung coming in second with about 69 million units shipped. LG came in third with about 34 million units while Sony Ericsson and Motorola rounded out IDC’s top five list with shipments of about 14.5 million and 12 million, respectively. Apple shipped 8.7 million iPhones in the fourth quarter, bringing its worldwide market share to 2.7 percent.
Strategy Analytics expects shipments of mobile handsets to grow 8 percent in the first quarter of 2010. Some regions, particularly South America, will face a more difficult recovery than others.