The mobile phone industry is the latest to be hit hard by the recession, with worldwide sales declining five per cent in the fourth quarter of 2008, despite overall growth, according to the latest figures from Gartner released today.
The analyst firm said that, while mobile sales grew by six per cent last year, shipments to end users in the fourth quarter reached 314.7 million units, a 4.6 per cent decline from the fourth quarter of 2007, and the lowest quarter-on-quarter growth recorded in a fourth quarter.
Fourth-quarter mobile handsets sales in Europe, the Middle East and Africa grew by 2.5 per cent from the previous quarter to 59.3 million units, bringing the market for the full year to 229.5 million.
"Reduced consumer confidence, combined with lower subsidies from operators, discouraged users from upgrading their current device," said Annette Zimmerman, senior research analyst at Gartner.
"Instead, users chose less expensive devices when buying a new phone, or held on to their existing ones."
The top five mobile phone vendors all experienced a decline in sales in the fourth quarter, but Nokia, Samsung and LG all managed to grow their market share slightly.
Nokia remained the number one manufacturer with 38.6 per cent of the market, followed by Samsung with 16.3 per cent, Motorola with 8.7 per cent and LG with 8.4 per cent.
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