Global mobile phone shipments to decline in 2009

Mobile phone shipments dropped 10 percent in Q4 2008, compared to the same quarter a year ago, according to Strategy Analytics. The market research company also expects that things will not get better in 2009. It predicts that 1.08 billion handsets will be sold in 2009, a 9 percent drop over 2008 when 1.18 billion mobile phones were sold.

The first half of 2009 could be particularly difficult. Slowing post-holiday sales in developed markets and lower demand during the Chinese New Year in Asia, both blamed on the global economic slowdown, are cited as the two main factors driving this expected slow down.

While the overall market grew last year, 2008 saw three of the top five handset manufacturers record drops in shipments. Only Samsung and LG, now in third place, grew.

This year-over-year decrease is only the second recorded by the mobile handset industry since it began in 1983.

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