2009 Handset Outlook Predictably Lousy
Add another bulletin to the outpouring of somber predictions for the coming year. Global handset sales slowed in the fourth quarter of 2008 (click on chart below) and aren’t expected to stabilize until 2010, Gartner said today. Though 1.22 billion mobile phones were sold in 2008–a six percent increase over 2007, the fourth quarter saw a drop of 4.6 percent, with the top five mobile phone vendors all reporting a decline in sales.
Keep in mind, this is the holiday quarter we’re talking about, so that year-over-year drop is even more dismal than it first appears. “Mobile phones have traditionally been one of consumers’ preferred presents for Christmas,” said Gartner’s Carolina Milanesi. “However, in the fourth quarter of 2008 consumers were concerned about taking on the contract associated with [them].”
And that concern will persist for some time to come, says Milanesi, who doesn’t expect demand to stabilize before next year. “At the moment we are seeing growth in 2010,” she told The Wall Street Journal. “It will be very moderate, but [it will be] growth.”