10/14/2009 1:26:00 PM
UK mobile market's decline starts to reverse
The decline of the UK mobile market started to reverse in August, contradicting predictions that it would retract by 10% in 2009.
In June this year, the UK mobile handset market reached its greatest decline, when it retracted by 7.3% to 2.2 million units, compared with the same month in 2008.
Meanwhile, in August, the figure fell by just 4.1%, according to figures from research analyst GfK.
At the start of 2009, the industry – led by Nokia – agreed that the global handset market would fall by 10% over the course of the year due to the economic slow down.
The figures show the UK handset market is starting to climb out of the recession, said Strategy Analytics director of wirelesss practice Neil Mawston.
He added: ‘After the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the global recession hit handsets, but now the market is starting to grow back. There will be the odd country that’s in positive territory by Q3, and I think the UK will be
there by Q4.’
The GfK figures show that in the UK, the market retracted by 6.7% in April and climbed slightly to -5.5% in May, but fell further in June and July.
The figure for September 2008 to August 2009 shows an overall decline of 3.3%.
Mawston said: ‘Confidence is coming back – there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Handset sales are very close to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which should also start to climb again.’
Mawston added that the industry will now look to upgrade customers to ‘more computer based ARPU’, such as web browsing, and said: ‘It’s the smartphone wars, subsidy wars and operator wars that are going to power this.’