Monday, March 20, 2006

Firm Raises ’06 Phone Forecast

RED HERRING reports that Strategy Analytics is raising its forecast for cell phone sales and "now expects 943 million phones to be shipped in 2006, representing about 15 percent growth from 2005. In January, Strategy Analytics had forecast the number would be 930 million. The firm retained its projection that 1 billion phones will be shipped in 2007, an 11 percent increase from 2006."

Neil Mawston at Strategy Analytics pointed out that "the January report was based on extrapolations from 80 to 85 percent of the data. When the rest of the actual numbers were tallied, they added up to a slightly higher number than expected." Strategy Analytics also raised its fourth-quarter shipments total of 245 million by 1 million.

Even as the numbers get higher, Mawston noted that
"cell-phone growth is slowing. Growth slowed from about 32 percent in 2004 to about 25 percent in 2005 and is expected to drop to 15 percent in 2005."

He said, "But 15 percent is still a healthy number. Growth is still ticking along reasonably well. 2005 was the year of the emerging market," while more mature markets were still “plugging along quite healthily."

The article cites research from other firms that are predicting "a growth slowdown, but at different rates. In October, for instance, iSuppli said it expected 2005 growth of 13.6 percent."