Continued, Though Declining, Growth Forecast for Global Mobile Handset Market

Mobile handset sales will continue to grow over the next five years, according to a recent report on the future of mobile handsets by London-based wireless industry analysts ARC Group. The report, Future Mobile Handsets 2004-2009, says that the global mobile handset market expanded by 16%, with consumers buying 561 million new mobiles over the course of 2004, up from 482.5 million in 2003. This growth rate will gradually slow down over the next five years as the market saturates, with expected growth figures of 10% in 2005, 7.7% in 2006, 6.4% in 2007, 4.8% in 2008 and 2.6% in 2009. Despite the decline, annual handset sales are forecast to reach 767 million by 2009. Global handset sales will be buoyed by demand from key developing markets not yet saturated: Brazil, China, India, Mexico and Russia. But new features and capabilities will drive mobile handset sales in developed markets, such as Europe and Asia/Pacific, as existing mobile phone users are encouraged by handset manufacturers and network operators to replace their handsets with more feature-rich models capable of supporting voice and data services.

Senior ARC Group consultant David McQueen, author of the report, notes that handset manufacturers must understand the consumer groups they are targeting and gain insight into the consumer’s buying behavior in order to differentiate themselves from the competition. “Customized handsets to suit the audience will become crucial to encourage further handset sales,” he says.

The Future Mobile Handsets 2004-2000 report may be ordered from the ARC Group website at Find more information at