Cellphones: Demand Is Even Worse Than You Think

How bad is the market for cellphones? Really bad. Worse than really bad.

RBC Capital’s Mark Sue this morning cut his Q1 forecast for global handset unit demand to 230 million, from 248 million, which would mean a sequential drop of 25 percent. For the full year, Sue now expects handset units to drop 18 percent. “Despite some inventory clearing at carriers and distributors, magnified deterioration in developed markets and sharp declines in emerging markets means global handsets may contract more than dire predictions,” he writes in a research note.

Sue thinks that Nokia (NOK) “may feel the brunt of the weakness this quarter,” given that it will also likely lose some market share. He cut his unit forecast for Nokia for Q1 to 85 million units, down from 93 million; that would be off 25 percent from the 113 million the company reported in Q4.

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