Mobile handset market to shrink in 2009, says iSuppli

The global mobile phone handset will contract next year as consumers hang on to their handsets for longer, market-research company iSuppli said.

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The global mobile phone handset market will contract next year as consumers hang on to their handsets longer amid tough economic times, market-research company iSuppli said today.

The company revised down its outlook for the worldwide mobile phone market and said it expects handset shipments next year to be 1.22 billion phones, which represents a 6 percent drop from its 2008 forecast of 1.29 billion units.

The 2008 forecast is also lower than iSuppli's original prediction of 1.31 billion phones.

In revising down its figures iSuppli joins fellow market researcher Gartner and handset maker Nokia in expecting a weaker market in 2009.

From 2010 the market is expected to resume its growth but shipments aren't predicted to surpass the levels of this year until 2011, iSuppli said.

Of course such mid-term predictions are difficult to make at the best of times and in the current economic climate forecasting the state of the market next year is itself a challenge.

Until a couple of months ago iSuppli had been forecasting nothing but steady growth for the market for at least the next several years but then the credit crisis hit, stock markets fell and consumers began thinking a little more carefully about their purchases.

In total iSuppli now expects 5.5 billion handsets to be shipped from 2009 to 2012, a drop of 753 million phones over the four-year period from its previous prediction.

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