Mobile phone market poised for slowdown in 2009, says IDC
According to IDC, total mobile phone volumes will be 1.9% lower in 2009 than 2008 levels, the first downturn in annual shipment volumes since 2001 when shipments declined 2.3%. Over the past several years, the mobile phone market has enjoyed double-digit annual growth due to an increased emphasis on emerging markets. However, emerging market growth has been steadily slowing as these markets mature. IDC estimates worldwide growth in 2008 to be only 7.1%.
Most handset players, including component suppliers, handset makers and operators, have indicated that they expect an on year shipment decrease in 2009 due to the flagging global economy.
"Nokia's announcement was the first sign of troubles to come," said Ryan Reith, senior analyst with IDC's Mobile Phone Tracker. "However, the real concerns set in with announcements from the chipset vendors who supply the industry. Qualcomm, Texas Instruments (TI), and MediaTek are among some of the suppliers announcing reductions in manufacturing for the upcoming year. There is a lot of uncertainty about how the markets will fare and inventory levels will be more of a focus point then ever before."
By 2010, the worldwide mobile phone market will show signs of improvement as economic recovery plans will have taken effect, while the pace will be slower compared to the strong double-digit growth experienced in the years prior to the decline, said IDC.
On the other hand, IDC expects smartphones to grow 8.9% worldwide in 2009. This contrasts sharply against the negative growth expected for the entire mobile phone market. Beyond 2009, growth will return to double-digit territory, faster than the overall mobile phone market.
As prices have come down in recent quarters, smartphones have become competitive alternatives to traditional mobile phones. Continued high demand and lower prices will keep this category growing, even as the overall market struggles, said IDC.
IDC: US and worldwide mobile phone shipments growth (Y/Y)
Device type USA Worldwide
2008 2009 2010 2008 2009 2010
Smartphone 75.7% 3.1% 28.2% 26.9% 8.9% 24.0%
mobile phone (9.8%) (11.6%) (8.8%) 4.6% (3.5%) 5.0%
Total market (0.3%) (8.7%) (0.7%) 7.1% (1.9%) 7.7%