The slump in 2008 shipments of mobile phones was the highest on record, dragging year-on-year growth for the whole of 2008 down into single figures, around six per cent. Of particular note, according to the market research group Gartner, was the two per cent quarter-on-quarter growth in Q4/08--the lowest ever recorded for what has been a boom period in past years.
However, Gartner claims the handset reseller channels were attempting to significantly reduce their inventory during Q4, driven by their need to reduce upfront Capex requirements. "Efforts to reduce inventory will intensify in the first quarter of 2009 and continue into the second quarter," said Gartner's mobile industry research director, Carolina Milanesi. "In the second half of 2009, the channel will have to start restocking. But, the 'real' market recovery will not happen until 2010 when demand will stabilise around the first quarter."
However, another study conducted by iSuppli maintained that smartphone shipments will, in the best case, increase to over 192 million, up more than 11 per cent from 173.6 million in 2008. "For this optimistic scenario to come to fruition, mobile operators must cut fees for data services and offer aggressive subsidies to reduce consumer smartphone prices," said Tina Teng, an analyst for iSuppli.
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