Gartner sees handset market continuing to grow, change

Gartner is predicting the global sales of mobile phones will increase 11% this year; that’s 1.28 billion phones, compared to 1.15 billion sold in 2006.

But while the overall market looks pretty good, certain regions will experience declining sales this year, as ‘mature’ markets such as Western Europe, Japan and North America are reaching saturation.

Given this, the firm identified five key trends for mobile devices through 2009: established vendors will consolidate, as new manufacturers like Apple join the handset making fray; as prices for handsets fall, device makers will seek new sources of revenue, such as Nokia’s content and services push with its Ovi offering; as devices add more functionality, manufacturers will have to make those new functions even easier to use; style and branding will start to play more of a role as devices become ‘lifestyle statements’; and finally, consumers will want to hold onto high-end devices longer, meaning manufactures need to make devices ‘field-refreshable,’ so more upgrades and updates for devices already in use.

via Gartner