Smartphone shipments grow 30% in Q4 2009, fierce competition ahead

Boston, Mass. — Global smartphone shipments grew 30 percent year-over-year to reach a record 53 million units in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2009, according to Strategy Analytics. The market research firm says this was the strongest period of growth since the third quarter of 2008.

The study also reveals that global smartphone shipments reached an all-time high of 173.8 million units in 2009, growing 15 percent from 151.1 million during 2008.

“Smartphones are leading the handset industry out of recession,” said Tom Kang, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics, in a statement. “Sales are being driven by stronger consumer demand and a stream of attractive new 3G models tempting buyers into retail stores.”


The report, “Q4 2009 Global Smartphone Market Share Update,” finds that Nokia shipped a record 20.8 million smartphones worldwide in Q4 2009, rising 38 percent from 15.1 million units a year earlier. This was Nokia’s strongest smartphone quarter since the first half of 2008, boosting the company’s end-of-year revenue and profit, says Strategy Analytics.

Another key finding shows that RIM shipped a record 10.7 million smartphones worldwide in Q4 2009, remaining ahead of Apple’s 8.7 million units during the quarter. RIM continues to expand its international footprint beyond the core territory of North America into Western Europe and parts of Asia, says Strategy Analytics.

Neil Mawston, director at Strategy Analytics, also says the smartphone market will become ultra-competitive in 2010. “Samsung and LG have ambitious plans to grow volumes and expand their app stores, while emerging players like Dell and Huawei are strengthening their device portfolios and courting major operators,” Mawston said in a statement. “The smartphone wars will be good news for consumers, but the fierce competition will inevitably place downward pressure on vendors’ pricing and margins.”

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