Mobile phone sales up 22 per cent

Worldwide mobile phone sales totalled 205.4 million units in the third quarter of 2005, up 22 per cent against the equivalent period last year, according to industry analyst Gartner.

Although some might think that the mobile phone market in North America and Western Europe has long since reached saturation, Gartner says that the growth represents the biggest quarter since it began recording the market in 2001. However, the replacement market in both of these regions remains strong as customers rush to turn in their old handsets for new camera and videophone models.

In Western Europe, the upgrade market drove sales to nearly 40 million units, whilst the North American market grew slightly to 36.3 million units. According to Gartner, this is the strongest third quarter for this region and the second strongest quarter on record.

Meanwhile the emerging markets are also rushing to join the party with Latin America seeing growth up 46 per cent and the booming Asia/Pacific region saw 52.2 million units shifted in the third quarter, a 27 percent increase over the same period last year driven by sales in India and China.

The manufacturers have been defending their market positions rigorously with Nokia launching 10 new handsets in the period that saw its sales grow 28 per cent and grow its market share to 32.6 per cent up one per cent over the equivalent quarter in 2004. However, Motorola at number two saw its share jump 70 per cent to gain an 18.7 per cent share of the worldwide market driven by strong sales in China and new must-have handsets like the Razr. Third and fourth placed Samsung and Sony Ericsson also saw strong growth

As a result of the strong Q3 performance, Gartner has upped its forecast for total sales in 2005 to 810 million units.

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