More than twice the number of camera phones will be sold in 2003 compared to 2002, according to a report released today by ARC Group has claimed.
The wireless analyst claimed that by the end of 2003 more than 55 million consumers worldwide will own camera-phone handsets, more than double the 25 million mobile units sold in 2002.
"This year we have seen a massive growth in camera-enabled phones, with 15% of handsets worldwide featuring built-in cameras or designated camera accessories," David McQueen, ARC Group's Senior Consultant and author of the Future Mobile Handsets 2003-2008 report, said.
For mature markets, the growth has come from existing mobile phone users as they are encouraged by handset manufacturers and network operators to replace their handsets with more feature-rich models, a turnaround from a few years ago when the emphasis was on the first-time buyer, McQueen found.
"Tempted by innovative design features such as rotational cameras and swivel screens, along with the advent of multimedia messaging, colour displays and polyphonic ring tones, we'll see many consumers upgrading their mobile phones this Christmas," he said.
The study also predicts that by 2005 130 million handsets with camera capability will be shipped globally, and with the additional boost of 3G roll out, this figure is expected to increase to 210 million by 2008.
"Globally, the Asia Pacific region will continue to lead the way, but Europe is expected to improve its market share through the continued take-up of mobile messaging services and with operators promoting attractive services such as Vodafone's Live! service," McQueen explained.
ARC Group predicts the entire mobile handset market to grow by 10.3% with consumers buying 444 million mobiles by the end of 2003, up from 402 million in 2002. This trend is set to continue for the next five years, with handset sales forecast to reach 689 million by 2008.
The report saw a noticeable change in the market shares of the major handset vendors in 2002, although the top two, Nokia and Motorola, remain the same.
The most notable rises are Samsung, which has increased its worldwide share to around 12%, and LG, which is doing well in the CDMA market. Siemens also saw its share grow in 2002, although market share for SonyEricsson and Alcatel has slipped. For the first half of 2003, the top four remained unchanged, although LG was hampered by the SARs virus, and SonyEricsson staged a comeback to push up its market share.
Overall, Europe lost sales last year owing to market being over-reliant on the replacement market, and growth is expected to be slow up to 2008.
The ARC Group's view that Samsung is a coming threat were vindicated by a report from VisionGain, which produced a report aggresively titled "The Samsung Report --- a threat to Nokia domination?"
The survey carried out for the report amongst industry executives found that 35% of respondents expect Samsung to gain the most market share in handset market in 2003.
VisionGain said that Samsung Electronics is currently the third largest global handset manufacturer with a 9.8% share of the overall market in 2002 and an ambition to reach a target market share of 11.6% by the end of 2003. Visiongain believes that Samsung will eclipse Motorola by 2006 --- posing a stronger threat to Nokia.
The report finds that one of the major factors in Samsung's favour are its openness to a variety of operating systems and extensive interest in both CDMA and GSM.