Supply and demand is the basis of the world economic system. In a world of advertising, marketing, and promotion, there is some question as to whether demand creates supply or supply creates demand. Whichever way it happens, there is no question that in the field of mobile phones the result is a massive market. According to the UK's The Guardian, as of March 2009 more than half the world had mobile phone accounts.
Mobile phone sales in poorer nations skyrocketed between 2006 and 2010. The growing availability and decreasing cost of phones and accounts, combined with the absence of landlines in many parts of Africa, combined to create a volatile market where millions of people acquired mobile phones in a very short period of time. The intensity of the sales surge appears to have been short lived, and some mobile phone manufacturers now believe that they are approaching world wide market saturation.
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People Giving Up Land Lines
Another factor that has increased sales of mobile phones is the phenomenon of people who already had land lines giving them up in favor of exclusive use of their mobile phones. Since mobile phones can be used at home or in other locations, many people prefer to pay only for the mobile phone account, and to use it as their home phone when at home.
Text messaging is an ability of mobile phones that doesn't exist with traditional phones. This added feature makes them preferable to land lines for many people, given the flexibility of sending messages at any time, and accessing them when it is convenient. Texting also appeals to people who don't enjoy speaking on the telephone, and is useful in environments where speaking loudly and taking phone calls is not appropriate.
As new types of mobile phone are developed and marketed, they will appeal to the segment of the population who, for reasons of business competition, trendiness, or need, are always in the market for the next new thing. As mobile phones become smaller, more complex, and begin to offer more and more options such as email access, computer interface, and games, many people discard their older phones in favor of a new model. This process of encouraged obsolescence is as old as capitalism, as it increases profits for manufacturers, but it has been accelerated and emphasized in the world of computers and mobile phones.