Worldwide handset shipments slow in Q1

As expected, mobile phone shipments suffered a sequential downturn following the holiday quarter--the latest edition of market intelligence firm IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker reports vendors shipped 291.6 million units during the first quarter of 2008, down 11.6 percent from the 330.8 million units shipped during Q4 of 2007 but up 14.3 percent from the 255 million units shipped during the year-ago quarter. Nokia claimed 39.6 percent market share during Q1 2008 with total shipments of 115.5 million, a volume greater than its three closest competitors combined. According to IDC, volume remained impressive thanks to sales of entry-level devices in emerging markets, while feature phones including the 5310, 5610, and 6500 series and Nseries devices yielded the majority of revenues.

Coming in second: Samsung (46.3 million units shipped, 15.9 percent market share) which IDC notes improved its presence in emerging markets even as European and North American demand softened. While still in third place, Motorola fell even further behind Samsung, capturing just 9.4 percent of market share with 27.4 million units shipped--IDC points its finger at gaps in Moto's product portfolio as well as another quarter of operating loss and lower operating margin. LG Electronics (24.4 million units shipped, 8.4 percent market share) surged into the number four spot for the first time since early 2006 thanks to continued demand for Viewty, Voyager and Venus feature phones. Sony Ericsson slipped to fifth with 22.3 million units shipped and 7.6 percent market share due to diminished demand for its mid-range and high-end devices, channel inventory buildup, component shortages and surging Asia Pacific consumer interest in low-price handsets.

IDC said the first quarter results are in line with its 2008 forecast, but warned economic concerns may negatively impact handset purchases over the remainder of the year. The firm added that continued growth in emerging markets combined with competitive pricing and innovative service plans should help keep the overall market on track. 

For more on the IDC Q1 report:
-read this release

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