Worldwide mobile phone sales to end users dropped 4.6% in the fourth quarter to 314.7 million units, according to research firm Gartner Inc. The top five phone vendors all saw sales fall in the quarter. For all of 2008, sales rose 6% to 1.22 billion units.
Sales into the channel totaled 297.3 million units; the gap between sell in and sell out reflected a sharp reduction in channel inventory. Gartner says restocking will help boost sell-in volumes in the second half, but that demand is not likely to stabilize before 2010.
Nokia (NYSE:NOK) had 37.7% market share in the fourth quarter, down from 40.4% a year ago. Samsung’s (OTC:SSNLF) share jumped to 18.3%, from 13.4%. LG’s share rose to 8.9%, from 7.1%. Sony Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) fell to 7.5% of the market, from 9%. Motorola’s (MOT) share crumbled to 6.9% from 11.9%.