US Consumer Mobile Phone Sales Down: Units, 13%; Revenue, 2%

September 2, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Retail & E-Commerce | Telecom

Mobile phone handset sales to consumers in the US totaled 28 million units in the second quarter of 2008 – a 13% decline from 2Q07 – according to The NPD Group, which also estimates total Q2 consumer sales of nearly $2.4 billion, down 2% from Q2 last year (via Retailer Daily).

Among handset manufacturers, Motorola barely maintained its lead in the US market; however, the company’s unit-sales share fell 6 percentage points from Q1’s 27% and 11 percentage points from 2Q07’s 32%.

Competitors LG, RIM, and Samsung gained market share.

“Quarterly unit-sales of handsets fell to their lowest level since NPD began tracking the category in 2005,” said Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis for NPD. “Even so, most major manufacturers picked up market share that was lost by Motorola.”

Following is the breakdown of the top five manufacturers’ share of units sold to US consumers in Q2, per NPD:

  • Motorola: 21%
  • Samsung: 20%
  • LG: 20%
  • Nokia: 9%
  • RIM Blackberry: 7%

Below, additional findings released by NPD.

As in previous quarters, phones sold in Q2 were, by and large, more feature-rich than those sold the year prior:

  • Handsets sold with a QWERTY keyboard had the greatest year-over-year rise; 28% of handsets were sold with this feature in Q2, vs. 12% the year prior.
  • Smartphone sales comprised 19% of all mobile phone sales in Q2, an increase of 9 percentage points from the same period a year ago.
  • 81% of phones purchased in Q2 were Bluetooth-enabled (up from 69% last year).
  • 65% of phones purchased in Q2 were music enabled (vs. 45% last year).

The average selling prices (ASPs) paid by US consumers reached $84 in Q2, an increase of 14% from a year earlier; however, Q2 ASP declined nearly 4% compared with Q1’s $87, due to LG, Motorola, Nokia and RIM price declines.

Carrier stores continue to lead all retail channels in handset sales, maintaining their collective share of 63% in Q2, compared with 8% for mass merchandisers and 6% for electronic specialty stores.

Among carriers, AT&T expanded its unit-sales lead, posting a 29% share, compared with 26% for Verizon Wireless, and 11% for both T-Mobile and Sprint.

ATT’s gain was due to increases in sales for pre-paid as well as post-paid handsets, Samsung and Nokia consumer sales were stable, and there was a jump in sales for Sony Ericsson and RIM, NPD said.

About the data: NPD compiles and analyzes mobile device sales data based on more than 150,000 completed online consumer research surveys each month. Surveys are based on a nationally balanced and demographically representative sample. Results are projected to represent the entire population of US consumers. NPD does not track corporate/enterprise handset purchases.

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