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Nokia predicts mobile slowdown in 2009

Nokia Store: where are all the customers?
Nokia Store: where are all the customers?

Nokia will launch some exciting new handsets next year - including the BlackBerry-busting Wahoo flip-phone - but it doesn't expect you to buy them.

The Finnish phone giant is predicting this winter's economic chill - with decreased consumer spending and unpredictable exchange rates - to last throughout next year, with fewer handset sales in 2009 than in 2008.

Retailers hoping for a buoyant period in the run-up to Christmas should think again, too. Nokia says that 20 million of us, worldwide, will delay buying a mobile phone during the holiday season.

Cold calling

The mobile phone industry is still in good shape compared to, say, car makers. The world is on track to buy around 1.24 billion handsets during 2008, up from 1.14 billion in 2007.

More worrying for Nokia is that its phone may not even be reaching the shops. A spokesman said, "The mobile device market has also been negatively impacted by the more limited availability of credit, which has limited the purchasing ability of some of our trade customers."

However, Nokia is confident that it can maintain its dominant market share of global phone shares through an economic downturn, by cutting costs and ditching external consultants.