Sales of mobile phones will be flat at 1.2 billion units globally in 2010, but smartphone sales will push revenues up 9%, market analyst Gartner predicts.
Gartner said sales of smartphones, which are forecast to grow 38% by 2013, would make up 14% of total sales in 2010, but expensive charges for data calls could drive customers away.
Gartner research director Carolina Milanesi said average selling prices through the whole market would be lower because of price cutting by grey market or "white label" suppliers, mainly in China.
Milanesi said Nokia would be hit hardest by grey marketeers. But anyone selling into emerging markets in Asia/Pacific, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Latin America would suffer.
Gartner said it expected handset replacement cycles to be back to 12 months within two years as a result of aggressively priced smartphones and shorter contracts. Second-hand sales in emerging markets and SIM-only sales globally would stabilise in 2010 and start decreasing from 2011 as consumers feel less macro-economic pressure, Gartner said.
"Despite a projected return to growth in 2010, the times of 20% growth are over because mature markets are saturated, and most growth will come from emerging markets," Milanesi said.
Manufacturers would be pressed to sustain and grow margins as average selling prices dropped. "Software, services and content will be much bigger drivers than hardware, pushing traditional mobile phone vendors to reinvent themselves to remain at the top of their game," she said.
Worldwide mobile terminal sales (Thousands of Units)
|Middle East & Africa||133,471.9||128,879.6||140,305.1|