Recent In-Stat research suggests global handset sales and subscriptions will be significantly lower in 2009 compared the previous year due to the economic downturn. While sales of cellphones are expected to fall by 20.5 percent this year, subscriptions will be less affected at an 8.9 percent growth compared to 19.3 percent increase last year. This is due to people more likely to hang onto their current cellphones longer while retaining their wireless subscriptions.
Laid-off workers and employees will find the expense of replacing their handsets an unnecessary luxury, while employers will no longer pay for employee subscriptions. A snapshot of the five-year forecast also reveals new subscriber growth will decrease to just 6.3 percent in 2010. In-Stat predicts handset sales will return to a healthy 9.6 percent growth by 2011.
The estimate comes just as Nokia, the current largest cellphone maker, said its own phone shipments dropped 19 percent in early 2009 compared to a year earlier.