The Western European mobile devices market recorded another quarter of annual decline in 2Q09 despite a significant rise in smartphone sales, according to a new IDC study. According to the research firm’s ‘European Mobile Phone Tracker’ report, handset vendors shipped 42 million units to Western Europe in 2Q09, down 6 percent from 2Q08 but an improvement on the 14 percent annual decline recorded in 1Q09. The switch from traditional mobile phones to smartphones continued to be a major trend in Western Europe, IDC said. Traditional mobile devices declined 12 percent during the quarter to 33.2 million units, while smartphones recorded a 25 percent increase to 8.8 million units compared to a year ago. For the full year, IDC believes that the Western European market will decline 10 percent, noting that demand for converged mobile devices will continue to grow, but will not be strong enough to reverse the overall market decline. “Despite the slight improvement in the second quarter of 2009, we will continue to see negative growth throughout the coming quarters, with full market recovery being seen only in 2011,” said Francisco Jeronimo, European mobile devices research manager at IDC.
In terms of individual vendors, the study found that – for the first time – South Korean vendors Samsung and LG together shipped more devices to Western Europe than Nokia. The Finnish giant remained the market leader, with a 36.3 percent market share, but the gap to Samsung, the second-largest vendor with a 28.9 percent share, continues to diminish. Meanwhile, IDC added that LG continues to challenge Sony Ericsson’s market position, noting that the success of LG’s touchscreen handsets allowed it to achieve a 11.5 percent market share, its highest ever in Western Europe.