Nokia hit by no-brand vendors success -Gartner

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Nokia and other established handset makers are quickly losing global market share to a push by Chinese no-brand vendors into emerging markets, research firm Gartner said.

Surging growth of no-brand manufacturers coupled with growing smartphone sales boosted third-quarter mobile sales 35 percent, Gartner said on Wednesday. It raised its outlook for growth in 2010, which it forecast would top 30 percent.

Top-selling Nokia’s third-quarter market share shrank to 28.2 percent from 36.7 percent a year ago, to its lowest level since 1999.

No. 2 and No. 3, Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics, also saw their market share slip to 17.2 percent and 6.6 percent respectively.

No-brand manufacturers -- mostly small Chinese firms using chipsets from Mediatek or Spreadtrum Communications Inc -- have this year quickly expanded their reach outside China into Africa, India, Latin America and Russia.

“It is an issue more for Nokia than for others. Nokia is the one that owns the low-end of the market,” said analyst Carolina Milanesi, adding no-brand vendors’ focus was shifting to smartphones.

Gartner said sales of mobiles made by vendors outside the top 10 rose to 138 million handsets from 50 million a year ago.

Nokia reported last month sales of its non-smartphones dropped 9 percent year-on-year in the past quarter, saying component shortages were the main reason.

In its key Indian market, Nokia’s share dropped to 31 percent from 51 percent a year ago, Gartner said.

Gartner estimates are different from other research firms as it tracks actual sales to consumers at retailers and operators, while others follow handset manufacturers output.

It said third-quarter sales of smartphones nearly doubled, in line with other researchers estimates.

Milanesi said full-year smartphone market growth would be “way over 50 percent”. (Reporting by Tarmo Virki; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter and Dan Lalor)