Mobile-phone users are on track to buy one billion handsets this year, according to research firm IDC.
Growth at the top and bottom of the market is fuelling sales. The trend at the high end is shifting from very slim phones to handsets with digital music players, IDC said. While full-featured phones are drawing buyers in mature markets, sales of low-cost phones are growing in emerging markets.
A total of 254.9 million phones shipped during the third quarter, an increase of 7.9 percent on the previous quarter and up 21 percent on the same quarter last year.
The top two handset makers improved their market shares. Nokia, which sold 88.5 million phones during the quarter, had 34.7 percent of the market, up from 31.6 percent in Q3 last year. Despite a 45 percent decline in profit during the quarter compared with the same period a year before, Motorola's share of the market grew to 21.1 percent, compared with 18.4 percent in the same period in 2005.
Samsung Electronics maintained its third spot in the rankings, holding 12 percent of the market and shipping 30 million phones, while Sony Ericsson managed to hold on to the number-four position after stealing the spot from LG Electronics. Sony had 7.8 percent of the market in the quarter and LG Electronics had 6.5 percent, down from 7.4 percent in Q3 2005.