Helsinki: The cellphone market will rebound more strongly than expected this year as improving economies boost spending on new gadgets and handset vendors push cheap smartphones, research firm Gartner Inc. said on Tuesday.
The market fell 1% in 2009, the first decline in eight years as consumers cut spending amid recession.
But Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi said she now expects the market to grow 11-13% this year, compared with the firm’s December forecast for a 9% increase. “Sales will return to low double-digit growth, but competition will continue to put a strain on vendors’ margins,” she added.
Gartner is more optimistic than the top cellphone maker Nokia Oyj, which has forecast growth around 10%, and also slightly ahead of analysts consensus of 11% in a Reuters poll. Gartner sees smartphone market volume growing a whopping 46% from 172.4 million units sold last year, boosted by cheaper models. The most affordable now cost just over $100 (Rs4,600), excluding operator subsidies.
Gartner said it expects average sale prices in 2010 to fall more slowly than last year— when intense competition hurt pricing in markets such as China and India—helped by an improving economy and consumers upgrading to cheap smartphones.
Nokia saw its market share slip last year to 36.4% from 38.6% a year ago, and Gartner said more challenges lay ahead. Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics gained last year, up to 19.5% and 10.1% respectively.