Mon, Nov 07, 2005 - Page 10 News List

Q3 handset sales reach 1.7m units

COMMUNICATIONS Local brands face a tough battle against their global first-tier peers, which gained market share in the third quarter, MIC said


The sales volume of mobile phones in Taiwan amounted to 1.7 million units in the third quarter -- maintaining a similar level to the same period last year -- thanks to the rollout of new mid-level and high-end multimedia models, according to statistics from Market Intelligence Center (MIC, 市場情報中心).

Sales value for the period hit around NT$11.6 billion (US$345 million), up 2 percent from a year ago. The average selling price stood at NT$6,642, also registering 2 percent growth over the same period last year, according to the report released last week.

"Judging by the third-quarter performance, we can expect sluggish growth in the local handset market in the near future, if vendors do not come up with innovative applications to stimulate market demand," senior industry analyst Marty Kung (龔俊光) said.

First-tier European and US mobile phone vendors, such as Motorola Inc, Nokia Ojy and Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications Ltd, had a combined market share of 60 percent in the third quarter, showing sequential growth of 4 percent and an increase of 11 percent year-on-year, the report said.

Taiwanese brands garnered about a 20 percent market share during the same period, down three percentage points sequentially and four percentage points year-on-year, as a result of low-price strategies from Motorola and Nokia, and competition from mid- and high-end lineups from Sony Ericsson and Samsung, MIC said.

On the other hand, South Korean brands commanded a 13 percent share of the market in the three months to September, with Japanese vendors taking around 10 percent, according to the market researcher's statistics.

"As the market becomes saturated, first-tier brands leave limited room for smaller players to compete ... as they are able to win consumers' hearts through their brand superiority, product strategies and ample marketing resources," Kung said.

Meanwhile, as vendors have been aggressively developing the mid-range and high-end segments, these models -- priced above NT$10,000 -- accounted for about 25 percent of total sales in the third quarter, up 9 percentage points from last year.

The market share of mobile phones with built-in camera modules also rose to almost 60 percent for a year-on-year increase of 12 percent, as makers continued to push 0.3 megapixel and 1 megapixel handsets, it added.

Looking ahead, the research house expects that demand in the current quarter will be fueled by new services and multimedia offerings, especially with the fast-growing MP3 player-equipped handsets taking center stage.

"Mobile phone vendors will roll out models with MP3 features to stimulate replacement demand, and give a boost to the third-generation services," Kung said.

Mobile-phone sales in the local market are forecast to remain at about 1.7 million units in the fourth quarter, marking a similar level to the third quarter but up 3 percent year-on-year, MIC said.

For the whole year, total sales will grow by 2 percent annually to hit around 6.7 million units, with the sales value amounting to NT$43.8 billion, according to the research agency's estimates.

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