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BlackBerry, iPhone are recession proof: ABI Research

The third quarter of 2009 showed a year over year 6.5 percent in shipment, but 2009 should close out with only a 4 or 5 percent contraction, according to ABI. The research firms credits North America and the Asia-Pacific market for the robust handset sales.

“The market is a little bit down year over year, but we can’t say it was unexpected,” said Michael Morgan, mobile industry analysis at ABI Research, New York. “The market is not quite out of woods yet, but we can see the clearing.

“We’re getting there,” he said. “There’s reserved optimism for quarter four especially with new handsets like the Droid from Verizon and BlackBerry’s new line up coming out as well.”

ABI Research provides analysis and forecasting of trends in global connectivity and other technologies.

ABI also found that market shares are beginning to thaw.

Nokia’s market share slipped from 38.3 percent to 37.3 percent during the third quarter of 2009.

Mr. Morgan said the Nokia findings were the most surprising.

“Nokia has yet to turn the ship around they are continuously losing market share and we’re not seeing an answer to the situation yet,” Mr. Morgan said.

On the other hand, Samsung continued to grow by raising its market share to 20.7 percent.

ABI said that despite new wireless device introductions in the second quarter, LG’s market share dropped to 10.9 percent.

The research firm said that all the other vendors held their ground or lost a small amount of market share.

However, Apple is an exception to that trend. The iPhone increased its market share from 1.9 percent to 2.5 percent.

ABI said that there have been arguments that Apple’s limited handset line-up will constrain growth, but the research firm does not expect any slowdown in Apple’s growth.
According to ABI, Symbian is still the leading operating system in the smartphone market with a 48 percent share.

BlackBerry follows with an 18 percent holding.

When it comes to game changers, ABI said to keep an eye on the Android operating system. It predicts Android handsets could capture 10 percent of the smartphone market by 2014.

Smartphones are not the only handset segment that is driving the market. Consumers are also demanding more GPS capabilities on their handsets

ABI Research estimates that by the end of 2009 21 percent of all handsets shipped will have onboard GPS.

Mr. Morgan said that these findings indicate that the iPhone and BlackBerry in particular are recession proof.

“Well, at this point it’s becoming more and more obvious that the smartphone specialty shops like the iPhone and BlackBerry are almost recession proof,” Mr. Morgan said. “I don’t think they were aware it was happening at all.”