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Sales of handsets plummet worldwide

Nokia, Samsung, LG Electronics, Motorola and Sony Ericsson all show negative growth rates

Global shipments of handsets have fallen dramatically in the first quarter of this year because of the economic decline.

Market research firm Strategy Analytics found that shipments were down a full 13% to reach only 245 million units, compared to last year’s 282 million units for the same period. This was blamed on changed consumer habits and the de-stocking of inventory by retailers because of the recession.

It’s the fastest rate of annual decline in handset shipments since records began, the company revealed.

All the top five handset vendors – Nokia, Samsung, LG Electronics, Motorola and Sony Ericsson - grew at negative rates.

Samsung however did outperform the rest by slipping only 1% annually and taking over a record 19% global share.

Nokia and LG fell 19% and 7% respectively but the biggest hit was taken by Motorola, which was down a massive 46% annually. Sony Ericsson was close behind with a decline of 40% compared to shipment figures from last year.

Apple, on the other hand, has enjoyed robust sales of its iPhones - up 123% compared to shipment figures last year to reach 3.8 million units. Strategy Analytics predict that the company will “launch one or more new models in the coming months as it seeks to maintain its breakneck growth rate.”

The mobile phone industry is expected to pick up by the second half of the year as new models are introduced and consumers slowly regain confidence.