News | February 10, 2000

Mobile Phone Sales Increased 65% in 1999

Mobile Phone Sales Increased 65% in 1999 Worldwide sales of mobile handsets reached 283 million units in 1999, a 65% increase over 1998 sales, according to Dataquest Inc., a unit of Gartner Group Inc. (Stamford, CT). Dataquest analysts predict that the market is set to explode by the end of 2000, with sales estimated to surpass 410 million units.

Reaping the benefits of a focused branding campaign, strong product design, and an unrivaled distribution channel, Nokia not only retained its position as the No. 1 manufacturer with its market share totaling 27%, but it beat its nearest rival by 10%. Motorola and Ericsson held on to their No. 2 and No. 3 positions, respectively, despite growing slower than the overall market growth. Korean manufacturer Samsung experienced the strongest growth among the top-tier vendors, as its 1999 sales grew 277% over 1998 results (See Table 1).

Worldwide mobile telephone terminal sales estimates for 1999 (thousands of units)

"There is no question that Nokia has performed outstandingly well with a growth rate of 98%, and Samsung has benefited from strong growth in CDMA markets, both at home and in the Americas," said Peter Richardson, principal analyst for Dataquest's Mobile Communications Worldwide program. "Samsung has also performed well in the GSM markets of Europe and Asia, underlining the strength of this organization and potential for continued market penetration in the future. It is this type of progress which makes market leaders like Nokia vulnerable to attack in the next three to four years."

At a regional level, Europe remained the No. 1 region with the highest percentage of mobile phone sales, and Asia/Pacific jumped to second place in 1999, ahead of the United States. However, the region showing most the impressive progress last year was Latin America, which experienced more than 103% growth.

Growth in the mobile terminal market was fueled by product sales at the entry-level of the market, despite the high levels of excitement surrounding WAP and other enhanced data products. Nevertheless, analysts warned that this trend should not be dismissed as mere hype.

For more information about Dataquest's programs, call 800-419-DATA or 408-468-8009.

Edited by Ellen Jensen