UPDATE 1-HTC sales fall 30 pct in a month

Tue Dec 6, 2011 4:20am EST

TAIPEI Dec 6 (Reuters) - Sales of Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC Corp dropped 30 percent in November from a month before as the world's No.4 smartphone brand struggled to compete against bigger rivals Apple and Samsung Electronics.

HTC said on Tuesday consolidated sales for November fell to T$30.94 billion ($1.03 billion) from T$38.48 billion a year ago and T$44.11 billion in October 2011.

"It shows how volatile the mobile device market is," said John Strand, founder of Danish mobile industry consultancy Strand Consult.

Since Apple entered the smartphone market with its iPhone in 2007, old market leaders Nokia and Research In Motion have quickly lost ground. RIM warned last week on its sales and profits.

"Apple fans want the new iPhone model. HTC customers do not have the same desire for the next HTC phone. They need to reinvent themselves. It is difficult for consumers to see what they get if they buy a new HTC phone," Strand said.

HTC warned on Nov. 23 its revenues would not grow in the fourth quarter, shocking a market used to double- and even triple-digit percentage growth rates.

Shares in the Taiwanese company more than trebled in the 14 months to April, while sales grew four-fold in a year and a half, as consumers snapped up its innovative phones with their distinctive large clock numerals.

But the stock has slumped 62 percent over the past six months. It closed up 2.1 percent at T$458 before the sales figures were published.

HTC had 10.8 percent smartphone market share in the third quarter, according to research firm IDC, behind Samsung, Apple and Nokia.

In addition to falling sales HTC is battling legal challenges in its key markets in the United States and Germany.