Strong Cellphone Sales Predicted in Fourth Quarter

gartner1.jpgResearch firm Gartner announced today that this year’s fourth quarter will see an increase in cellphone sales worldwide. In the third quarter vendors combined to sell over 289 million handsets, with strong demand in Asia and Africa lifting sales 15% from a year ago. These numbers are predicted to continue, with holiday sales in Europe and North America helping to boost purchases.

“I think it’s going to be a good Christmas, showing growth of 10 to 15 percent from last year,” Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi said.

Cellphone providers foresee market growth of over 10% this quarter over last year’s numbers. Gartner said annual sales are set to reach 1.134 billion phones. These sales numbers easily make mobile phones the largest consumer electronics sector in the world.

Western Europe should see good holiday sales. New models from Nokia and Sony Ericsson are expected to be hot items this Christmas, while growth in emerging markets like Africa and China is set to continue.

“India and China are not showing any signs of slowdown,” Milanesi said.

Nokia is the company that is cashing in the most on growth in emerging markets. The company’s market share rose to 38% in the third quarter from 35% in the same quarter last year. Nokia has a strong lead in markets like China and India.

India is seeing tremendous growth, with 8 million new customers signing up for mobile phones each month. Cellphone makers are targeting first time buyers in India with low-priced handsets to gain market share in this rapidly developing country of a billion people.

For you number crunchers, here are some statistics provided by Gartner. Samsung overtook Motorola with 14.5% of the market, compared to 13.1 for the U.S. company. Sony Ericsson and LG Electronics also increased their market shares to 8.8% and 7.1 percent, respectively.

Nokia has benefited from the sales of ultra-cheap handsets, which has boosted its profit margins. Nokia’s profit margin on cellphones rose to 22% in the quarter, while its best performing rivals, Samsung and Sony Ericsson boosted their profits just over 12%.