News From Telecom World

Global smartphone market to grow 35% in 2009

Posted on: November 25, 2008

The global smart phone market is expected to grow 35% in 2009, outpacing the entire handset industry’s growth, as handset makers are sprinting to create high-end devices amid an overall slowdown in demand, a market-research firm Strategy Analytics analyst said Monday.

“Smart phones are driving above-average growth in global handset shipments,” Thomas Kang, a senior analyst at Strategy Analytics, said during a handset industry seminar, organized by Telecoms Korea.

He added,”dedicated smart phone vendors such as RIM, HTC and Apple are all registering higher profit margins than Nokia. Operators in developed markets are willing to subsidize their expensive devices in an attempt to drive their voice data revenue.”

The 35% growth forecast compares with the entire handset industry’s estimated growth of 3% for next year, Kang said.

Still, the handsome growth estimate for the smart phone segment is a sharp slowdown from 100% growth expected for this year, he said. The entire global handset industry is expected to grow 8% this year, he added.

Nokia Corp., the world’s largest mobile handset maker, warned in mid-November that industry device volume will likely decline in 2009 from an estimated industry shipment of 1.24 billion phones this year “as a result of the rapid change in global consumer spending.”

Repeating some pessimistic industry views, Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s second-largest handset vendor, Monday also raised the possibility of industry growth contraction in 2009.

“The global economic slowdown is likely to pull the world’s cell phone market down to single-digit growth, or even toward negative growth (next year),” Samsung said in reply to Telecoms Korea’s survey of vendors on the industry outlook.

It would be the first year that handset shipments fell year over year since 2001 – the last major economic downturn, analysts have said.

Sandy Shen, a Shanghai-based telecom analyst for research group Gartner Inc., said at the seminar that the smart phone will be one of the most powerful growth engines for the market until 2012.

“Western Europe will become the fastest growing market for smart phones, followed by North America,” she said.

Source: Total Telecom

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