Cellphone market growth down sharply in third quarter - Gartner

Cellphone market growth fell sharply in the third quarter, with consumers cutting back or delaying purchases in the grim economic climate, especially in western Europe, research firm Gartner said.

Global sales of all mobile phones were up 5.6 per cent in the third quarter to 440.5 million phones, falling from 16.5 per cent growth in the previous quarter.

Gartner analyst Roberta Cozza says if one looked at the performance of smartphones in some southern European countries it was flat or declining.

She said that last quarter Gartner had warned of a slowdown in smartphone sales in western Europe. Global smartphone sales were up 42 per cent in the third quarter from a year ago, which, though, was down from a 74 per cent rise in the previous quarter and the over 100 per cent growth rates the market had seen over the last few years.

According to Gartner, demand growth for smartphones fell in advanced markets such as western Europe and the US with many users waiting for new flagship devices, while slowdown was also seen in Latin America and the Middle East and Africa.

Inventories of unsold phones were up by around 20 million phones in the quarter mostly in anticipation of the demand over the upcoming holiday-sales season, but according to Gartner, Samsung Electronics and HTC showed a higher buildup of unsold models than the rest.