Europe now accounts for over a fifth of the global 1 billion mobile handset market, despite the fact that it accounts for only 9% of the worlds population according to the GfK 2006 Mobile Report released today at 3GSM.
The report reveals that the European mobile phone market grew by 5% in 2006, with over 210 million handsets sold. Russia is Europes largest market, with sales of 33 million handsets in 2006. Germany overtook the UK as the second largest European market, growing by over 1 million new handsets year on year. The fastest growth is coming from less mature markets. Sales in Bulgaria, for example, were up 35% on the previous year. Strong growth has also been seen in other developing countries in eastern Europe, Scandinavia, and in Greece and Turkey
The more mature and highly penetrated markets, such as UK and Italy, have not grown as strongly in 2006, but clearly, the more mature the market the greater importance technology has on driving growth says GfK Business Group Director Aaron Rattue. In 2006, mobile phone usage expanded in line with the technological capabilities. One in 20 phones bought in Europe now has a camera with 3 megapixels or more, and by the end of 2006, there were more phones bought with MP3 functionality than without. In fact, in the second half of 2006 there were more mobile phones sold with MP3 capability than standalone MP3 players.
The report is available to GfK clients on a subscription basis. More information via the GfK website, or call +44 870 603 8100. GfK is exhibiting at 3GSM on stand 7E62.