Nokia sales slump as shoppers pass on smartphones

Nokia has reported a 19 per cent drop in its thrid-quarter sales, raising the stakes for the launch of the new Lumia smartphones next month it hopes will claw back market share from Apple and Samsung.

Phone manufacturer posts sixth straight loss as smartphone sales wane, raising the stakes for new Lumia Windows Phone 8 range.

The Finnish phone manufacturer reported net sales of €7.2bn (£5.85bn) in the three months to the end of September compared to €8.9bn (£7.2bn) in 2011.

The company sold a total of 82.9 million mobile phones during the period, of which 6.3 million were smartphones (including 2.9 million Lumia devices). That compares to 106.6 million phones, including 16.8 million smartphones, during the same period last year and the 10.2 million sold during the second quarter.

The fall in sales highlights the importance of next month’s launch of the Lumia 820 and Lumia 920 devices, which run on Microsoft’s latest Windows Phone 8 software, to the future of the business. The manufacturer unveiled the devices last month. Microsoft is hoping the operating system will rival Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android to become a third major mobile platform.

Nokia says the fourth quarter will be “challenging” with a “lower than normal” benefit from seasonal demand, primarily due to the transition of consumers to Microsoft’s latest Windows Phone 8 software and its strategy for new devices.

Stephen Elop, chief executive of Nokia, says: “As we expected, Q3 was a difficult quarter in our Devices and Services business. In Q3, we continued to manage through a tough transitional quarter for our smart devices business as we shared the exciting innovation ahead with our new line of Lumia products.”

Nokia’s shares were up 8.2 per cent to €2.384 as the sales fall was not as sharp as expected by analysts.

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