updated 07:50 am EST, Thu January 28, 2010
Nokia's Q4 2009 a sharp recovery for phones
Nokia this morning touted a sharp turnaround in its smartphone share for the last quarter of 2009. It shipped about 20.8 million of the devices in the fall versus just 16.4 million in the summer. With an estimated 52.4 million smartphones shipped in the entire smartphone market compared to 47 million, Nokia estimates that it has jumped back from a recent low of 35 percent share in the summer to 40 percent by the end of last year.
Most of this comes directly from improved sales of its core Eseries and Nseries smartphones; the company shipped a total 10.7 million of these versus 8.9 million just one season earlier. Much of the rest includes Symbian S60 smartphones that don't fit into the category, such as the X6, as well as the Maemo-based N900. The period was likely to have been helped the most by the launches of devices like the N97 mini and E72.
The period was overall strong for Nokia. It shipped 126.9 million phones of all kinds, a jump of 12 percent versus a year ago and 17 percent compared to the summer. The Finnish company also bounced back from its sharp loss to make a nearly $1.6 billion profit, more than double the $688.9 million in late 2008.
However, the results partly masked poor performance in some areas compared to 2008. Its net sales actually dropped 5.3 percent year-over-year to $16.8 billion. For the whole year, mix of its smartphone sales also skewed sharply away from its high-end Eseries and Nseries and plummeted from 48 million in all of 2008 to 36 million last year; the average selling price of a Nokia cellphone dropped 15 percent to about $88 as customers picked cheaper devices.
The company is also cautious about its performance for the near future. It expects a sharp drop-off in sales in the post-holiday period and also expects the profit margin to slump while customers shy away from major purchases. In spite of the apparent recovery, it also still expects its market share to be flat through all of 2010.
No extra details have been provided about Nokia's progress in its attempts to block Apple through its ITC and lawsuit measures. The handset maker recently faced a setback of its own when Apple filed an ITC counter-complaint that would force much of Nokia's goods out of the US if won.