Mobile Gambling is Recession-Proof

The busy bees over at Juniper are in a pre-Christmas frenzy it seems; they're very active recently (see here and here). Today, they have enlightened us yet again: according to their latest report, there is a niche sector that will actually be completely unaffected by the doom and gloom of the world economy, and that is mobile gambling. They predict this segment to double in size in 2009 to a not too shabby $3.6bn, 30% of which to be coming out of the UK.

However, 3/4 of that are said to come from betting, which is to say it is mainly an extension of existing betting business: Ladbrokes, Bwin, William Hill, etc, all run mobile sites funneling punters into their regular business. The second-largest sector is casino games, which would be the likes of IGT-owned Million-2-1 early movers Spin3 and the likes. And there is presumably poker (Cecure Gaming has captured a good position there it seems: live on all UK operator decks).

What they don't say is if the numbers quoted are gross turnover or only the rake (which is only a small fraction of the total). But the rationale convinces me, too: people will gamble. Hope is a powerful consumer value driver! 

Lower Handset Sales in 2009

The financial crisis will - what a surprise - also catch the handset manufacturers. A report tells us that handset sales are bound to fall in 2009, by 5.6% or 1.215 billion units, to be precise. The backend of 2008 already sees the impact, too: growth predictions have been reduced from 10.4% year-on-year to 8.9%.

This is in line with reports from Blackberry maker RIM who reduced its forecasts today. Even mighty Nokia is expected to lower its forecasts.

It can probably be expected that this will also impact the mobile content market: it is widely accepted that consumers tend to spend on mobile content in the first 3 months after they got a new phone. So: no new phone, no new content... Moreover: the above reduction in growth does not actually show the whole picture. Mobile content uptake is much higher on high-end phones. However, these are normally bought by way of upgrades, and it is there that the most severe drops are being predicted.
“While new subscriber additions are continuing at a healthy pace and are poised to grow by 563.9 million in 2008 and by 506.5 million in 2009, an overwhelming majority of the new subscribers are coming from the rural areas of emerging regions,” Teng said. “These subscribers primarily are purchasers of low-cost, entry-level handsets. However, the pricier feature-phone and smart-phone market segments are driven by existing subscribers who are upgrading their mobile devices to take advantage of new features and advanced data services. As the economic climate deteriorates, these customers are delaying their purchases.”
All doom and gloom then? Well, maybe not: others predict that the recession (at least in the US) will actually drive the number of wireless-only households. And, after all, a mobile game at €/$/£ 5.00 a pop is not the world, is it?