The impact of the global economic crisis will spread to the mobile phone market resulting in a downturn in shipments in 2009. 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 now expects worldwide growth to be just 7.1% in 2008 before slipping into negative growth in 2009.
The economic crunch has also affected consumer behavior, particularly consumers’ plans to purchase new devices. With less disposable income available and other expenses competing for attention, consumers may choose to hold on to their current devices rather than replace or upgrade them at the next possible opportunity, usually when a service contract expires.
IDC does not expect the downturn in mobile phone shipments to stretch past 2009. By 2010, the worldwide mobile phone market will show signs of improvement as economic recovery plans will have taken effect.