Global sales of mobile phones jumped during the fourth quarter of last year to the highest level ever, market watchers have reported.
According to IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker worldwide mobile phone shipments totalled 194.3 million units in the fourth quarter, growing 18.1 per cent sequentially and 24 per cent year on year. For the full year, shipments enjoyed an annual increase of almost 30 per cent.
The study noted that Nokia clocked up its second consecutive quarter with market share above 30 per cent after strengthening its product line with devices aimed at entry level, business and fashion-conscious users.
As a result of its efforts, Nokia "firmly maintained its spot as top vendor" in the industry. However, the companies playing catch up to the Finnish giant also enjoyed increased activity.
Motorola reached record shipments, claiming 16.4 per cent of the market, and distanced itself from third-placed Samsung by more than 10 million units.
After spending most of 2004 steadily closing the gap against Motorola, Samsung saw shipments decrease to levels it had not seen since the start of 2004. But the firm still managed to retain 10.9 per cent of the market.
LG Electronics climbed another notch to supplant Siemens for the number four spot with 7.2 per cent market share, but only 0.3 per cent separated the two companies.
"Growth during the fourth quarter was largely fuelled by vendors that offered a balanced portfolio of innovative features, technology and style," said Ramon Llamas, research analyst at IDC's Mobile Devices Group.
"Additionally, vendors continued to upgrade their product lines with features such as improved screen and camera capabilities as well as introducing more phones with 3G technology.
"Combined with phones introduced earlier in the year, vendors were able to offer a range of entry-level, mid-range and high-end phones.
"Now that there is more clarity among the top three spots, the competition will continue to heat up for the final two positions.
"The difference in shipments between LG Electronics and Siemens is slight, with recent public comments questioning the latter's opportunity going forward. Sony Ericsson trails closely behind the two, poised to re-enter the top five."
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