Forward Concepts has published an in-depth study of the worldwide cellphone market and the associated ecosystem of subscribers, operators and technologies. Some of the key findings from the study are:
- Worldwide unit cellphone shipments fell by 0.5% in 2009, as the entire electronics market was muted by global economic conditions. They are forecasting a much healthier 11% growth in 2010 to 1.4 billion units.
- Unit growth varies markedly by region, with China's market forecast to grow by 23% in 2010, while Western Europe's will grow by a more sedate 4%.
- India will lead in subscriber growth this year, growing an estimated 30% compared to China's 7%.
- Apple exhibited the greatest unit growth of all cellphone vendors in 2009, with an 83% growth. Following Apple was Tianyu with 68%, NEC with 46%, RIM with 44%, Inventec with 23%, LGE with 21%, TCL and Huawei each with 17%, Samsung with 16% and HTC with 10%. Of course, the lesser-known companies began with smaller shipment bases.
- In smartphones, ZTE had the highest 2009 unit growth, at 160%, with revenues of $400 million in that category, followed by Apple's 83% growth, but with much higher revenues of $13.8 billion.
- Smartphones, such as those by RIM, Apple and HTC get the most press, but they only constitute 13% of the unit cellphone market, while so-called feature phones make up 25%.
- Budget cellphones, popular in India, China and Africa presently make up 23% of the market, while mid-range units account for the largest market, at 39%. We forecast that the budget market will flatten as their replacements will lead to better growth of mid-range models.