Western Europe Mobile Phone Shipments Down in Second Quarter

Kevin J. O’Brien, The New York Times:

The euro zone crisis has mobile users hanging on to their phones a little longer.

With fewer consumers buying, the Continent’s big mobile retailers have been keeping inventories low, which has brought the first-ever quarterly decline in cellphone shipments in Western Europe, said Gartner, the research firm.

According to Gartner cell phone shipments in Western Europe dropped 0.5% Q/Q to 43.57 million in Q2’11. Mobile retailer inventories have dropped from four to six weeks worth down to three to four.

There might be a Nokia effect taking place. Horace Dediu:

Two years ago Nokia sold 30% of its smartphones in Western Europe. Today it sells 15% in that market. Its unit shipments went from 5 million to about half that and its market share went from 55% to 11%. Its rank in the market went from first to fifth.

Imagine you’ve been using a Nokia phone for years. Now all of the sudden Nokia is falling off the cliff. What to do? It seems a lot are deciding to do nothing, for the time being.

Before the end of the year Nokia plans to release a smartphone running Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 mobile OS. Initial acceptance of WP7 smartphones has been lukewarm in the U.S. What could Nokia do better than existing HTC and Samsung built versions?