In the run up to 3GSM World Congress, leading research firm GfK announced that the worldwide mobile phone market continued its strong growth in 2005, with new technologies and developing countries having a positive impact.
GfK’s research shows the worldwide market for Mobile Phones in 2005 was 812 million units, representing a growth of 18% over 2004 when 685 million units were sold.
The growth of new technologies and sales in countries with relatively low penetration are two key factors behind the strong growth. While the total market has grown by 18%, 2005 saw sales of 3rd Generation (WCDMA) Mobile Phones grow by 124%.
“In fact, during 2005, over 7% of all mobile phones sold were 3G phones; this is remarkable when the technology is not yet available in many countries,” explains James Randall, GFK Commercial Director.
The sales of Smart Phones (those with a Keyboard and open operating system) also saw substantial growth, up in volume by 85%. While these products are experiencing rapid growth, it is from a relatively low base with just over 1% of all mobiles sold during 2005 being the higher value Smart Phones.
While the key European countries of Germany (30m units in 2005), France (18.3m) and Great Britain (32m) last year combined grew by nearly 14%, the strongest growth is being seen in countries with lower penetration. For example, in 2005, the market in Russia grew by 26% and Poland by 27% on sales of 34m & 6m respectively.
GfK forecasts that worldwide sales of Mobile Phones will top 900million in 2006, with growth rates again reaching double digits. The growth will be driven as the number of users grow in developing countries and in the switch over to 3rd Generation phones in countries with an already high mobile penetration.