Mobile-phone shipments will be down 9.1 percent this year compared with 2008, analysts at Ovum have predicted.
In its forecast, Mobile phone forecast pack 2008-2014, released on Monday, Ovum said mobile-phone markets in all regions would be hit by the economic downturn — including emerging markets, which have recently been the areas of highest growth.
"Shipments will start to recover from 2010 onwards, although it will take until 2012 before global volumes are back to the level seen in 2008," Ovum predicted.
Adam Leach, one of the forecast's authors, said in a statement that the market for mid-tier handsets — those devices that are not smartphones, but include more functionality than basic voice-and-text handsets — had collapsed in 2009.
"This has had a polarising effect on the handset market with vendors and mobile operators focusing on two types of handset: those targeting the low-end and high-end segments," Leach said. "This in turn has quickened the replacement of 2G in favour of 3G handsets, with high-end 2G handset shipments suffering the most from the shift."
Leach also said that, while emerging markets such as those in the Asia-Pacific region were seeing growth in the number of customer connections, the strong second-hand market in those regions would hit shipments of new handsets.
Ovum said it expected devices built for LTE — the successor to 3G — to enter the market in 2012-2013.
"These handsets will be seen first in markets where operators have aggressive LTE deployment plans such as North America," Leach said. "However, LTE will not hit mass-market volumes until after 2014."