According to global market information and insight group TNS, people are suffering the effects of the recession as the number of consumers looking to buy a mobile phone in the next six months fell to 23 per cent from 28 per cent in the year ago, "leaving a potential black hole of $20 billion".
The drastic fall in demand for mobile handsets was particularly noticeable in emerging markets where handset sales are not subsidised and incomes are lower.
"In China the demand fell from 32 per cent to 24 per cent, while in India, demand dropped from 30 per cent to just 8 per cent," TNS said, adding, "on top of delaying purchases, consumers are looking to cut back on their monthly spend as well, hurting service providers".
The study, however, pointed out that there is likely to be demand for new and improved products as early as 2010 - and mobile handset makers need to be ready for that.
"When the economic situation improves and consumer confidence is restored, the market will be flooded with buyers eager for new and exciting products," Sam Curtis, Development Manager, TNS Technology Sector said.