The number of mobile phones shipped worldwide rose by 31 per cent during the first quarter of 2006, according to new figures.
Strategy Analytics' latest study reveals that 229m mobile phones were shipped in the first three months of 2006. This marks the first time sales have passed the 200m mark in the opening quarter of the year.
Following such a good start to the year, Strategy Analytics has issued a revised forecast for yearly sales. The firm had originally estimated that 943m units would be shipped during 2006, up 15 per cent on the 817m mobiles sold in 2005. However, it now expects that shipments for the year will total 1bn, up 22 per cent on the previous year.
Moreover, the research firm claims that Nokia and Motorola, who account for over 50 per cent of the global market, are now starting to run away with the global handset market, at the expense of most of their rivals.
According to the new figures, Motorola was the star performer among vendors during the first quarter, reaching 20 per cent global market share for the first time since 1998. The manufacturer, which announced a 23 per cent rise in first quarter revenues to $10bn on Thursday, grew shipments at a staggering 61 per cent annual rate during the three month period due to strong demand for its RAZR, SLVR and PEBL handsets.
Nokia, the undisputed leading mobile vendor, pushed its worldwide market share to 33 per cent during the first quarter, up slightly on the preceding three months. However, the gap between it and Motorola has declined from 19 points in the first quarter of 2002 to just 13 points at the end of the first quarter 2006.
Samsung recorded a lacklustre 18 per cent annual growth rate during the first quarter and now has 12.7 per cent market share. South Korean manufacturer LG saw volume rise by an above average 41 per cent year-over-year due to healthy CDMA demand. It currently has 6.8 per cent share.
Rounding out the list of leading mobile vendors is Sony Ericsson, which experienced healthy demand for its music phones during the quarter to give it a market share of 5.8 per cent. The manufacturer shipped 13m units in total in the first quarter.
Moreover, the company has sold some 5.5m Walkman music phones worldwide since their launch in August 2005, equivalent to 16 per cent of Sony Ericsson's total shipments since then.
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