PC World: Economic woes slashed cell-phone sales growth in the third quarter of this year as consumers waited longer to replace their handsets, and the market is likely to contract next year, according to Gartner.
The global slowdown affected sales in both rich and poor countries, though results varied around the world. Western Europe and Japan were hit hardest, with unit sales below those of a year earlier. Handset sales worldwide grew 6 percent in the third quarter, less than half the 16 percent growth that took place in the third quarter of 2007, according to Gartner. Unit shipments of phones grew to more than 308.5 million in the quarter from 291.1 million in the third quarter of 2007.
The news will be yet more grim in 2009, when Gartner expects worldwide unit sales to decline between 1 percent and 4 percent from 2008. New users still flocked to cell phones in the third quarter, but sales of replacement phones were hit hard, the company said.
Emerging-market gains drove up sales in Eastern Europe but sales in Western Europe were down, from 47.2 million to 43.5 million. Motorola suffered most among the major manufacturers, seeing its sales fall from nearly 38 million units to less than 25 million, and its market share drop to 8 percent from 13 percent.