Buoyant Q4 marks recovery of cellphone industry

* Handset market volume grew 10-11 pct y/y in Q4 -analysts

* Samsung, LG, Apple biggest winners

* Motorola, Sony Ericsson lose most

* For a related factbox, please click on [ID:nLDE60Q0GU]

By Tarmo Virki, European technology correspondent

HELSINKI, Jan 29 (BestGrowthStock) – Improving economies gave the
cellphone market a boost in the December quarter, ending a tough
year for the industry marked by flaccid consumer demand.

The world’s two largest cellphone makers — Nokia Oyj
(NOK1V.HE: ) and Samsung Electronics (005930.KS: ) — both forecast
handset sales volumes would increase around 10 percent in 2010.

“Things are looking brighter … it’s a very buoyant
market,” said analyst Neil Mawston at Strategy Analytics.

“South Korean vendors Samsung and LG again shipped record
volumes, while Motorola and Sony Ericsson edged their way back
toward profitability,” Mawston added.

LG Electronics (066570.KS: ) sold 32 percent more phones than
a year ago in the quarter, while Samsung sales volumes grew 30
percent and Nokia’s 12 percent to 126.9 million phones.

Apple Inc (Read more about Apple stock future.) (AAPL.O: ) sold 8.7 million iPhones in the quarter,
missing analysts forecasts but still sharply up from a year ago
as it widened its distribution network.

By contrast, Sony Ericsson (6758.T: ) (ERICb.ST: ) and Motorola
(MOT.N: ) both sold around 40 percent less phones than a year ago
as they struggled to revamp ailing product portfolios.

Strategy Analytics estimated the cellphone market grew 10
percent from a year before in the October through December
quarter, halting four straight quarters of contraction.

Nokia said the total market grew 8 percent in the December
quarter, while research firm IDC estimated on Friday the market
growth was 11 percent.

“Economic recovery mixed with pent-up demand will create
positive conditions for handset vendors in both developed and
emerging markets in 2010,” Ramon Llamas, IDC analyst, said in a
statement.

“Meanwhile, key handset vendors expect to exceed their 2009
shipment levels with refreshed portfolios, leveraging interest
in touchscreens, messaging devices, and converged mobile
devices,” Llamas said.

Stock Report

(Editing by David Holmes)

Buoyant Q4 marks recovery of cellphone industry