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30 March 2009


Handset sales decline of 8% in ’09 to level out in 2010

Despite forecasts that 2009 will be a bad year for cellular handset sales worldwide, ABI Research’s current forecasts for 2010 are cautiously optimistic, i.e. that shipment numbers will stabilize and maintain an essentially flat growth rate rather than falling further, according to the market research firms newly updated report 'Mobile Device Market Share Analysis and Forecasts’.

ABI estimates that handset shipments will fall by at least 8% in 2009. “Flat growth in 2010 is the best the market will deliver,” believes practice director Kevin Burden. “We will see neither significant growth nor decline in shipments, and that would actually be a good outcome: the beginning of the upswing back to a more stable growth pattern.”

Even if global shipment numbers hold steady at essentially 2009 levels, there will be regional variations, e.g. the Middle East and Africa will fare comparatively better, but volumes there are quite low.

The Asia-Pacific region will suffer most in 2009, mainly due to its huge volume of shipments – roughly triple the next largest region. Also, stabilization – if it comes – will arrive there a little later than in North America and Europe, resulting in a 2010 forecast that still shows a minimal decline in shipments, while other regions may enjoy a minimal positive growth.

“There are telltale signs that at least some parts of the handset ecosystem may be starting to steady,” Burden says. “Many handset vendors are replacing component inventories after reducing them to very low levels in recent months to keep from overextending as the market dropped,” he adds. “This doesn’t necessarily mean the whole market is doing better, but it is good news at least for the component suppliers, some of which were really suffering.”

See related items:

Mobile phone shipments to fall 8.3% in 2009

China handset market to grow 7.7% in 2009

Cell-phone shipments fall 10% in Q4/2008

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