According to a Reuters poll of banks, brokerages and research firms, global cell phone sales jumped 10.8 percent in the last quarter of 2010, ending a slump in sales that began in 2009 and peaked in the first half of 2010. Strong sales for phones in the fourth quarter is a common trend, however, because of the holiday season.
Last year showed “a gulf emerge between winners and losers which will only widen in 2011,” said the Reuters report. Winners so far are both Apple and Samsung Electronics, which will announce their December quarter earnings in late January. Samsung reached the 10 million unit sales mark with its Galaxy S smart phone in January and expects smart phone sales to double this year. LG Electronics, on the other hand, is forecast to report another quarter of losses in its phone lineup.
Another winner for 2010 has been Taiwan’s HTC, now the world’s fourth most popular smart phone brand, a fact that many attribute to the company’s move to Android-based phones. China's ZTE sold 60.2 million cellphones in 2010, 34 percent more than a year ago, and Research In Motion reported that net profits for its September-to-November quarter increased 45 percent. Market growth is expected to cool off a bit, however, to 8.4 percent this year from 13 percent last year, which enjoyed a stronger comparison with 2009, the weakest year yet.