Press Release

Mobile Handset Sales Pick Up Through 2016 as Market Bounces Back


June 11th, 2012

Global Information Inc. would like to present a new market research report, "Future Mobile Handsets - 13th edition" by Informa Telecoms & Media.

The mobile handset market was another casualty of the recent global economic downturn, and in 2009 sales fell 10% to just under 1.1 billion. Growth picked up in 2010, with device sales rising 12.8% to 1.23 billion. The increase continued into 2011 as total sales reached 1.36 billion, a rise of 11% year-on-year.

Since the slump in the worldwide handset market at the turn of the century, sales have been on the upturn, experiencing double-digit growth year-on-year from 2002 onwards and passing the 1 billion unit-sales mark for the first time in 2007 (see fig. 1). But the global economic downturn also hit the handset market, and in 2009 unit sales fell 10% to just under 1.1 billion. Growth picked up in 2010, with sales rising 12.8% to 1.23 billion. The increase continued into 2011 as total handset sales reached 1.36 billion, an increase of 11% year-on-year.

According to David McQueen, Principal Analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media: "In a climate of increasing handset sales but decreasing revenues and margins, the smartphone segment offers the largest returns for many in the mobile value chain. It has therefore become the most competitive segment."

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Market highlights:

  • An important emerging theme is the heated "race to the bottom" in terms of expanding device portfolios to include low-cost smartphones and "smarter" feature phones.
  • Informa Telecoms & Media predicts that handset sales will continue growing to end-2016, but at single-digit rates. By end-2016, global unit sales will be more than 1.7 billion, a 27% increase over 2011 figures.
  • All major regions and countries are expected to experience growth in handset sales from 2010 to 2016, despite saturation in many markets.
  • Asia Pacific is forecast to be the largest market, accounting for about 45% of sales. In addition, India will have consolidated its position as lead country market.
  • The major growth markets will be Africa, Latin America and the Middle East, where sales will increase 52%, 33% and 25%, respectively, between 2011 and 2016.

New for this edition are detailed analyses and handset sales by product segments and price tiers reflecting these changes in the industry. Product segments now include a more comprehensive breakdown of smartphones, including the "super-smartphone" category, and detailed analysis of the non-smart segment, taking a looking at software platforms. Each of the five product segments  two non-smart and three smart  is then further segmented by price tiers.

The new Future Mobile Handsets Interactive Forecast Tool (IFT) is designed to allow the easy manipulation of all our major handset-sales-volume forecasts. Specifically, it means that the handsets forecasts can be queried, cross-tabulated and charted via a number of differing segmentations and markets. Chief among the metrics used in the IFT are volume sales by region, network technology, product segments (smart and non-smart), price tiers and operating systems.


Global Information Inc.(GII) - specializing in market research provision for the vertical industries, GII offers expert independent recommendations of publications from hundreds of the globe's leading market research firms.

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