Recession? What recession? There's no such thing in the cell phone industry, at least not anymore, says iSuppli. The market research firm proclaimed the end of the cell phone recession after the industry closed out 2009 with a bang.
Cell phones ended 2009 with shipments of 1.15 billion units. That's slightly down from the 1.2 billion units shipped in 2008, but it's the fourth quarter performance that has iSuppli gushing over the cell phone market. Mobile handset shipments reached 335 million in the final quarter of 2009, up 15.5 percent from the 290 million shipped in the previous quarter.
"Given the recovery of the market in the final quarter of 2009, and with Europe, Latin America and the Middle East/Africa regions doing exceptionally well during the period, the recession can be said to be officially over for the cell phone industry," said Tina Teng, senior analyst for wireless systems at iSuppli. "The continued growth this year of total handsets - up a projected 11.3 percent to 1.3 billion units - further bolsters such a view."
The future looks equally bright, says iSuppli, which projects that smartphones will see growth of 35.5 percent in 2010. This will be helped by the introduction of entry-level handsets and 3G network expansion expected to take place this year.