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Mobile Phone Sales Expected to Reach 620 Million
Sep 2, 2004
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According to research firm Gartner, Inc., worldwide mobile phone sales surpassed 156.4 million units in the second quarter of 2004, a 35 percent increase from the second quarter of 2003.

Gartner analysts said all regions experienced healthy sales of mobile phones in the second quarter. "In mature markets, such as Western Europe and North America, sales of replacement handsets ensured strong results, while spectacular growth in emerging markets, notably Latin America, further boosted unit sales," said Ben Wood, principal analyst for mobile terminals research at Gartner.

In the second quarter of 2004, top-seller Nokia experienced sales of 46.4 million units compared to 41.2 million in the second quarter of 2003. Motorola rated second with sales of 24.4 million in the second quarter compared to 16.7 million from the same period last year. Samsung, Siemens, Sony Ericsson, and LG rounded out the list.

According to the research group, on a regional basis, the Western European market is being driven by consumers who bought their first mobile phones in 2000 and 2001, and are now upgrading to smaller color screen phones with built-in cameras that have become available at much lower prices.

Brazil continued to be the driving force in Latin America, although Mexico also contributed strong sales in the region. Other countries, such as Argentina, are showing signs of recovery from the economic downturn.

In North America, replacement sales were high as operators subsidized enhanced handsets, and consumers were willing to upgrade to devices with more features, especially camera phones.

Reflecting seasonal trends, Asia/Pacific mobile phone sales were down slightly from the first quarter of 2004. In China, the government's efforts to control the economy weakened demand for consumer electronics goods, such as mobile phones. In mature markets, such as Taiwan, Singapore and Australia, people refrained from buying new phones in hopes of further price reductions.

More than 300 million mobile phones have been sold in the first half of 2004, and Gartner analysts have projected year-end sales to reach approximately 620 million units. However, the analysts said if current momentum is maintained worldwide sales could reach 650 million units. If mobile phone sales exceed 650 million units this year, the research firm says it could result in excess inventory that could harm sales in the first half of 2005.

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