Factory-level unit sales of cellphones flattened out this year in the United States and will drop 8.7% in 2009, according to research company IDC. The company estimates factory-level unit sales in the U.S. declined 0.3% in 2008, marking the first drop since 2001, when sales fell about 5%. In 2009, the decline is forecast to accelerate to 8.7%, exceeding 2001’s percentage drop and causing U.S. sell-in to shrink more in absolute numbers than it did in 2001, said IDC analyst Ramon Llamas.
"In 2009, we’ll feel the full effects of unemployment, less disposable income, and tighter budgets by consumers and enterprises," he said. With less disposable income available and other expenses competing for attention, IDC said, "consumers may choose to hold on to their current devices rather than replace or upgrade them at the next possible opportunity, usually when a service contract expires. As long as the device functions properly, consumers may put off the replacement decision until more funds are available."
Despite this year’s small decline in overall cellphone shipments, sales of smartphones grew almost 76% in 2008, IDC said. Smartphone growth in 2009 is forecast to drop to 3.1% before resuming double-digit percentage growth in 2009, IDC said.
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