Smartphones remain a bright spot, with global unit growth hitting as high as 11.1 percent in 2009, predicts iSuppli.
iSuppli’s optimistic forecast for global smartphone unit shipments calls for 192.3 million units in 2009, up 11.1 percent from 173.6 million in 2008. A more pessimistic outlook calls for growth of only 6 percent this year, reaching 183.9 million units.
For the optimistic scenario to happen, wireless network operators must cut fees for data services and offer aggressive subsidies to reduce smartphone prices for consumers, says iSuppli analyst Tina Teng. Operators and handset brands have to sell consumers on the value of smartphones to encourage customers to upgrade, Teng added.
If consumer confidence continues to erode, iSuppli says its pessimistic forecast is likely to prevail.
The iSuppli report is similar to what some other analyst firms are saying. Earlier this week, The NPD Group said consumer sales of smartphones to U.S. consumers represented 23 percent of all handset sales in the fourth quarter of 2008 compared to just 12 percent in the fourth quarter of 2007.