Press Release

Egham, U.K., , August 24, 2006 View All Press Releases

Gartner Says Worldwide Mobile Phone Sales Grew 18 percent in the Second Quarter of 2006

- Sales in the third quarter to reach 238 million units-

Worldwide mobile phone sales totaled 229 million units in the second quarter of 2006, a 18.3 percent increase from the same period last year, according to Gartner Inc. This compared to a 23.8 percent increase in the first quarter. Gartner said it had expected the slight slowdown compared to quarter one and that its mobile phone sales forecast is still on track to reach 960 million units in 2006, with 238 million units in the third quarter of 2006.

“While mobile operators in the mature markets of Western Europe and North America struggled to maintain the customer acquisition growth levels seen in previous quarters, but mobile operators in emerging markets continued to sign new customers driving handsets sales,” said Carolina Milanesi, principal analyst for mobile terminals research at Gartner, based in Egham.

Leading vendors Nokia and Motorola both grew their market share and accounted for more than half of the worldwide mobile phone sales in the second quarter of 2006 (see Table 1). Nokia maintained its No. 1 position with a 33.6 percent market share, gaining two percentage points compared to the same period last year. Gartner stated that as Nokia starts to ship more feature-rich phones (such as the N72 and N73) in the third quarter of 2006, it needs to ensure that it can also cater for users who put fashion ahead of functionality and are looking for thin products.

“Motorola is the big winner this quarter,” said Ms Milanesi. The company achieved a market share of 21.9 percent, growing its market share by 4.2 percent year on year, the highest growth this quarter. Motorola maintained its lead in North America and Latin America and its No.2 position in other markets. With the MOTOFONE, KRZR and RIZR mobile phones due to ship from the third quarter of this year, Gartner said Motorola should be able to continue to gain market share in both emerging and mature markets.

Samsung retained its No. 3 position but lost market share compared to the top two players. Sales reached 25.5 million units in the second quarter, approximately half of Motorola’s total sales this quarter. Lower sales in the home market coupled with weaker than expected demand in some key markets in Asia Pacific explained Samsung’s weaker performance. To grow market share in mature markets such as Western Europe and North America, Gartner said Samsung needs to match its high feature set with a more distinctive design.

Sony Ericsson regained the No.4 position with sales reaching 15.3 million units. “Sony Ericsson’s bet on music and imaging continued to pay back. 25 percent of their sales came from the Walkman branded devices and the first Cybershot phone k800 was also well received by consumers,” said Ms Milanesi.  

Despite the success of the KG800 Chocolate phone, LG lost 0.4 percent market share year on year and slipped into fifth place. “Although The Chocolate phone sold very well and helped to increase LG’s brand awareness globally, ‘one swallow does not make summer’. LG needs to bring to market more products from the Black Label series including a 3G offering, to win back and hold the fourth position,” added Ms Milanesi.

Table 1
Worldwide Mobile Terminal Sales to End-Users in 2Q06 (Thousands of Units)


2Q06 Sales


 Market Share (%)

2Q05 Sales


Market Share (%)
















Sony Ericsson










BenQ Mobile*















Note: This table includes sales of integrated digital enhanced network (iDEN) terminals. It excludes shipments from original design manufacturers to original equipment manufacturers.
* Shipments of BenQ and Siemens combined.
Source: Gartner Dataquest (August 2006)

Regional Analysis

In Western Europe, sales in the second quarter of 2006 reached 41.1 million units, a 9 percent increase from the same period in 2005. Sales of replacement handsets slowed as consumers are waiting for new products to appear in the third and fourth quarters in time for Christmas.

In Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, sales of mobile phones to end users grew 20 percent over the same quarter in 2005 to reach 42.5 million units. Sales in the Middle East and Africa accounted for more than half of the total sales in the region.

“The second quarter of 2006 proved to be a difficult one in North America as network operators were unable to add new subscribers at the same rapid pace as in the first quarter of 2006,” said Hugues De La Vergne, principal analyst for mobile terminals research at Gartner, based in Dallas, Texas. Sales of mobile phones to end users reached 38.6 million units, down 3.5 percent compared to the first quarter of 2006. Although the number of new subscribers was down, sales of replacement handsets remained strong, which continued to drive the market.

In Latin America, sales reached 28.2 million units in the second quarter of 2006, a 7 percent increase from the same period last year.  “There were fewer new connections to mobile networks in the second quarter of 2006 than expected, which hindered handset sales,” said Tuong Nguyen, analyst for mobile terminals research at Gartner, based in Arlington, Virginia. Brazil is still the largest market in Latin America by volume, accounting for 28 percent of the region's sales.

In Asia Pacific, growth was driven by emerging markets such as India, China, Vietnam, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Total handsets sales reached 67.9 million units in the second quarter of this year, up 5.4 percent from the previous quarter. “Manufacturers addressed opportunities in these markets by offering low-cost entry-level terminals and were able to gain market share quickly by following operators' expansions into rural regions or remote areas,” said Ann Liang, principal analyst for mobile terminals research at Gartner, based in Taiwan.

In Japan, mobile terminals sales totaled nearly 11 million units in the second quarter of 2006, a 9 percent increase from the same period last year. “Three operators, NTT DoCoMo, KDDI au and Vodafone KK, introduced terminals with an embedded tuner for digital terrestrial television, which sold very well in the quarter. Handsets with a music player function and more memory to store downloads continued to attract users looking for replacement phones,” said Nahoko Mitsuyama, principal analyst for mobile communications research at Gartner, based in Tokyo.

More information is available in the Gartner report “Market Share: Mobile Terminals, Worldwide, 2Q06”. The report is available on Gartner’s Website at


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