Sales drop, but market share holds steady for Nokia

Market showing some signs of stabilizing, Gartner says

Nokia Thursday reported first-quarter sales down about 27 percent year-on-year, as sales of mobile phones dropped below 100 million units.

Nokia sales for the first three months of 2009 were EUR9.3 billion (US$12.3 billion), below analyst expectations of EUR9.7 billion. Profit was EUR4 million, compared to EUR1.2 billion a year ago.

The current environment is exceptionally tough, according to Nokia. Looking forward it expects sales during the second quarter to be about the same or maybe up slightly. Nokia also reiterates that sales volumes for 2009 will drop by about 10 percent, compared to 2008.

The company sold 93.2 million phones during the first quarter, a steep drop from the 113.1 million it sold during the fourth quarter of 2008.

Despite the drop, sales were still slightly higher than expected, according to Carolina Milanesi, research director at Gartner. Although the market remained very challenging the good news today is that it is showing some signs that it is stabilizing, she said via e-mail. She pointed to the fact that Nokia hasn't changed its outlook for 2009.

Nokia highlighted sales of the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, which came in at 2.6 million units, as a bright spot.

Also, despite the sales drop Nokia's market share has steady at 37 percent over the past two quarters, based on the company's own estimates.

"The bottom line is that although sales were a bit better than anticipated the strain on the market is clearly seen in the financial results with an average sales price that dropped," said Milanesi.

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