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Mobile phone sector is well-placed to weather the worst of the downturn

Some 19 months since the credit crunch is officially deemed to have begun in August 2007, it’s safe to say that no industry has been untouched by the prevailing economic chill winds. However, the mobile phone appears to be bearing up better than most.

That’s certainly the impression given by a new report from Gartner. The market analysis firm's study found that sales of handsets actually grew by six per cent over the course of 2008. Granted, there was a 4.6 per cent decline in the fourth quarter. But this seems far less marked than the slump experienced by other industries at this time. And lest we forget this is the period when the UK economy was deemed to have fallen off a cliff, with job losses announced left, right and centre.

There’s reasons to be optimistic this year, too, despite the fact that demand for new handsets will undoubtedly slow down further. Not least among these is the forthcoming release of a number of must-have phones that should help defy demand and mitigate against an industry-wide crisis.

It’s hard, for instance, to see the Nokia 5800 being anything other than a massive success. The same goes too for Sony Ericsson’s Idou phone. This features a 12 megapixel camera so good that it ought to eliminate the need to buy a dedicated device. And last but not least, there are rumours of a stripped down iPhone nano. Should Apple deliver a cut-price device, it’ll appeal stongly to a willing, worldwide market of young people who’re currently frozen out by the high price and contract charges of the iPhone 3G.

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