Smartphone Purchases Now Outnumber Feature Phones in US

Smartphones GrowthFull-featured smartphones are about to take over the mobile phone market. A new Nielsen survey found that a majority of all mobile phone purchases for the past three-months were smartphones. With more affordable pricing, more choices in carriers, operating systems and a slew of tempting applications, smartphones are now the preferred choice over simple feature phones. Users today no longer limit their mobile phone usage to voice communications. Smartphones are used to view streaming video content, check email, connect to social networking platforms, prepare documents for work, snap photos, read newspapers, play games, make mobile banking transfers and much more. In fact, many users are literally becoming addicted to their smartphones.

Fifty-Five Percent of New Phone Buyers Purchased Smartphones

Nielsen conducted its survey of U.S. mobile consumers in May, and found that the market share of smartphones is about to explode, leaving feature phones behind. A whopping 55 percent of new phone buyers snapped up a smartphone instead of a feature phone. In addition, 38 percent of all mobile phone owners now use enhanced mobile phones. Just a year ago, only 34 percent of Americans owned smartphones. With this phenomenal growth and popularity, smartphones are on track to overtake the mobile phone market.

The groundswell of smartphone usage shouldn’t come as a surprise. With the launch of mobilepayments systems, such as Google Wallet that transform smartphones into virtual wallets and credit cards, soon an enhanced mobile device will become a necessity to make purchases and transfer money.

Android is Number One, But iPhones are Driving Growth

The Nielsen survey found that Android-based smartphones continue to dominate the mobile phone market. But the recent growth of smartphones powered by an Android Operating System remained relatively flat. The increase in iPhone purchases is currently driving the smartphone market. Android purchases remained constant at 27 percent in May, while iPhone sales surged from 10 percent to 17 percent from February through May.

Android Phone Use vs. Apple OS Phone

Meanwhile, Research in Motion’s Blackberry devices are sinking like a stone. In February, RIM smartphones captured 11 percent of the market share. However, just three-months later, purchases of RIM smartphones fell to just 6 percent of the mobile phone market.

The Windows Phone 7 is so far below the mobile phone radar it barely registers in this competitive market. The beleaguered Windows-based smartphone accounts for just one percent of recent phone acquisitions.

Current Smartphone Market Share:

Google Android: 38 Percent

Apple iPhone: 27 Percent

RIM Blackberry: 21 Percent

Microsoft Windows 7: 1 Percent

Will the iPhone Overtake Android?

It would be interesting to take another look at the smartphone landscape six-months from now. Microsoft will soon launch an upgrade to its Windows-based phone with a new release of its mobile OS dubbed Mango. And Apple has been readying a much-hyped launch of its next generation iPhone 5.

How the growing smartphone market would respond to the new releases is a toss up. Would the iPhone 5 crush Google’s Android market share? Probably not. Android phones are also scheduled to benefit from an Ice Cream Sandwich OS upgrade. Moreover, a number of bargain price Android powered handsets are opening up the smartphone market to more middle-class consumers.


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