Monday, February 1, 2010

Sales of Mobile Phones Sizzling

The Joongang Ilbo today notes that sales of mobile phones have been sizzling lately, largely due to a rise in consumer spending and increased sales of so-called smart phones.  According to the London-based research firm, Strategic Analytics, world mobile phone shipments stood at 324 million units in the fourth quarter of 2009, a ten percent increase over the same period in 2008.  As shown in the accompanying graphic, (click on graphic to see larger version) Nokia remains the market leader with a 38.1 percent share of the global market.  Samsung and LG together have a 30.6 percent share of the market, followed by Motorola with 4.9 percent and "other" manufacturers, including Apple with 20.1 percent.
A couple of things should be noted about these 2009 market share figures.  First, they represent the end of an old era in which feature phones dominated the mobile market.  Feature phones are those with certain features, such as the phones camera or music capability, are accented to appeal to different market segments.  The feature-phone era is ending and giving way to the new era of hand-held broadband internet computers, as discussed extensively in earlier posts on this blog.
Second, the figures and this graphic do not break out sales of either the Apple iPhone or Android devices.  These two categories promise to take up most of the global market share over the next five years or so.  It appears that the major challenge for LG, Samsung, Motorola and Symbian is to see how much of the Android market share they can occupy.
Third, mobile handsets are well on their way to becoming a commodity, just as happened with personal computers.  The key value in the global mobile market is in the software and applications.  What a person anywhere in the world can do with his or her mobile device will simply depend on the speed of the internet connection and the power of the Apple apps, Android apps, and ....we'll see what others might become competitive in the global market.

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