Mobile phone shipments in the Philippines fell 20% sequentially in the fourth quarter of 2008 (4Q08) as the economic downturn continued to impact consumer spending adversely, according to IDC's Asia/Pacific Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, 4Q 2008.
The dramatic decline in the usually-strong quarter proved that consumer mobile devices are not immune to the economic slowdown. "Even as overall consumer spending in the country rose during the fourth quarter, consumers prioritized spending on basic holiday preparations and purchase of items that they still didn't have rather than on a mobile phone upgrade," said Karen Rondon, research manager for telecommunications research at IDC Philippines.
Four consecutive quarters of negative growth rates led to a dip in mobile phone shipments for the year 2008 compared to 2007. Converged devices, however, grew strongly year-on-year as vendors and channels heavily promoted new mid-range handsets particularly in the latter part of the year. In 2008, converged devices made up 14% of mobile phone shipments in the Philippines.
IDC expects the negative growth trend in the mobile phone segment to continue in 2009. "There is still a good room for growth for the mobile device market in the country, but recovery is expected only in 2010," added Rondon.