Analysts: Smartphones the saving grace for Australia's mobile phone market

Analysts: Smartphones the saving grace for Australia's mobile phone market

Analyst firm Ovum predicts a fall in global mobile phone shipments, others say Australia is still getting growth

Sales of mobile phones across the globe will take a blow this year, but Australia is sheltered by a strong smartphone uptake, according to analysts.

In a report titled Mobile regional and country forecast pack: 2008-2014, analyst firm, Ovum, forecast a 9.1 per cent decline in global mobile phone shipments for 2009 over 2008. The Asia-Pacific region is slated to drop 10.6 per cent.

While Ovum expects a gradual recovery by next year, global numbers will not regain 2008 levels until 2012.

Fellow analyst firm, Gartner, also predicted a national 4.2 per cent contraction in consumer sales for 2009.

In contrast, the Australia Mobile Telecommunications Association (ATMA) claimed a 3.9 per cent shipment boost in April compared to the same month in 2008.

IDC head telecommunications analyst, David Cannon, said the proliferation of smartphones may have played a part in bolstering local figures.

“Traditional low-end phones are experiencing a decline,” he said. “But the consumerisation of high-end phones, a drop in mobile data pack charges and adoption of consumer email has strengthened the smartphone market.”

Gartner consumer technology research director, Nick Ingelbrecht, also shared this sentiment but still anticipated a market contraction.

“Smartphones are fairing well in Australia as operators have been aggressive in promoting them so there have been lots of activities and it has held up well so far,” he said. “But even so, we see numbers coming off this year with an end-user sales decline of around three per cent in Asia-Pacific.”

While Canon saw room for continued growth, he said it was still early days.

“There is no real reason to believe that there is going to be continued decline,” he said. “But we are in unchartered waters and it is too early to tell.”

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