Mobile handset markets rebound after the recession

IDC has published a report saying that we’re all buying mobile phones again as vendors started shipping more units towards the end of last year.

According to IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, 325.3 million units were shipped in the last three months of 2009, compared to 292.4 million units the same period in 2008.

Strategy Analytics, who also brought out a paper on global mobile handsets shipments today, had the numbers at a slightly smaller 324 million units last quarter, which, it said, represented a 10 per cent gain over the same quarter in 2008.

So either way you look at it good news for mobile makers. In the IDC poll Nokia, Samsung, and LG as the market leaders with Nokia maintaining a 38.7 percent market share, Samsung a 17.1 percent share, and LG with an 8.8 percent share. Poor Motorola and Sony Ericsson both lost market share over the last year.

“The mobile phone market has rebounded in dramatic fashion,” said senior research analyst with IDC’s Mobile Phone Tracker, Kevin Restivo. “Overall, vendors offered a wide array of converged mobile devices (smartphones) and messaging devices in the seasonally strong fourth quarter, to take advantage of increased user demand.”

So it was all champagne and smartphones in theWestern Europe, APAC and US where sales were back on form, but not so in Latin America, where sales decreased.

However taking the overall view again, IDC reckons the worldwide mobile phone market will rebound from the bad recessionary times of 2009, in the coming year.

2009, it says, marked a contraction of the market due to the financial turmoil that affected the global economics (so basically the R word again), yet the demand for mobile phones has showed slight growth as the year advanced.

This year, as the global economy slowly gets to its feet and starts moving again, the handset market both in developed and emerging markets will improve also. After all, with more money, you get more spending and therefore more smartphones with touchscreens, messaging and converged services sold.

“One area of the market that has consistently shown growth all year is the converged mobile device market,” said Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC’s Mobile Devices Technology and Trends team.

“IDC believes that the converged mobile device market grew nearly 30 per cent year over year, and that the market will continue to gain momentum as device selection increases and price decreases continue into 2010 and beyond.”