IDC forecasts that global mobile phone shipments will fall 2.2 per cent next year, the first decline since 2001.

However, the researchers expect smartphone sales to outperform the market next year, growing an estimated 8.9 per cent.

This follows a 27 per cent increase in smartphone shipments this year, which helped boost worldwide growth to an estimated 7.3 per cent in 2008.

IDC does not expect the downturn in mobile phone shipments to stretch past 2009.

Its report states that by 2010, the worldwide mobile phone market should show signs of improvement as economic recovery plans start to take effect.

IDC forecasts 7.7 per cent volume growth in 2010 and a return to double-digit growth in the following years.

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