Mobile Phone Shipments Rebound To Double-Digit Growth in Fourth Quarter

Posted by at 12:03 am on January 29, 2010

The worldwide mobile phone market grew 11.3% in the fourth quarter of 2009 (4Q09), ending five consecutive quarters of retrenchment. According to IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, vendors shipped 325.3 million units in 4Q09 compared to 292.4 million units in the fourth quarter of 2008. Vendors shipped a total of 1.13 billion units on a cumulative worldwide basis in 2009, down 5.2% from the 1.19 billion units shipped in 2008.

“The mobile phone market has rebounded in dramatic fashion,” said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC’s Mobile Phone Tracker. “The Asia/Pacific region and the United States were primarily responsible for pushing the market back into growth territory. Overall, vendors offered a wide array of converged mobile devices (smartphones) and messaging devices in the seasonally strong fourth quarter, to take advantage of increased user demand.”

“One area of the market that has consistently shown growth all year is the converged mobile device market,” said Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC’s Mobile Devices Technology and Trends team. “Consumer tastes for mobile phones have increasingly shifted from simple voice telephony to greater data usage, and both handset vendors and carriers have been eager to meet demand despite ongoing economic challenges. IDC believes that the converged mobile device market grew nearly 30% year over year, and that the market will continue to gain momentum as device selection increases and price decreases continue into 2010 and beyond.”

Market Outlook

IDC anticipates that the worldwide mobile phone market will rebound in 2010. “In 2009, the mobile phone market, like many others, contracted due to economic pressures. But as the year progressed, demand for mobile phones increased each quarter while year-over-year declines progressively decreased,” adds Llamas. “Economic recovery mixed with pent-up demand will create positive conditions for handset vendors in both developed and emerging markets in 2010. Meanwhile, key handset vendors expect to exceed their 2009 shipment levels with refreshed portfolios, leveraging interest in touchscreens, messaging devices, and converged mobile devices.”

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