This year will be terrible for sales of cellular handsets, two recent market reports have confirmed. The newest, from ABI Research estimates that worldwide sales will drop 8 per cent, slightly under the 8.3 per cent estimated last week by IDC. However, ABI says it won't get worse next year. “We will see neither significant growth nor decline in shipments [in 2010], and that would actually be a good outcome: the beginning of the upswing back to a more stable growth pattern,” mobile device practice director Kevin Burden said in a news release.
ABI said the Asia-Pacific region will suffer most this year, primarily as a result of its huge volume of shipments – roughly triple the next largest region. And stabilization – if it comes – will arrive there a little later than in North America and Europe, resulting in a 2010 forecast that still shows a minimal decline in shipments, while other regions may enjoy a minimal positive growth.

In Canada, IDC had expected the overall mobile device market to grow 6.6 per cent this year. Instead, it will only grow by 4 per cent, the lowest growth rate in five years. “The main culprit is the weaker Canadian economy which will give consumers and businesses reason to pause before ordering a new handset,” said Kevin Restivo, lead analyst for IDC’s Mobile Device Tracker in Canada. “This in turn will lead to lower demand for handsets from manufacturers.”
The hardest hit part of the market will be traditional mobile phone segment which is expected to shrink by 5 per cent this year compared to 2008.
The converged mobile device market will save the overall market here from a shipment recession; it should grow by 21 per cent. However, the predicted growth figure represents a considerable drop from last year’s actual shipment figures.

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Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of ITWorldCanada.com and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including ITBusiness.ca and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@] soloreporter.com