Smartphones Now Dominant, Growth Accelerating

In the US smartphone penetration crossed the 50% threshold earlier this year. And two new reports show that smartphone growth and dominance are accelerating.

The first is a forecast from IHS iSuppli, which projected that 54% of mobile handset shipments in 2013 would be smartphones. This would mark the first time that smartphone shipments will dominate feature phones. It wasn't supposed to happen for three more years. 

Part of the popularity of smartphones is driven by "culture," as well as the convenience and value of having a smartphone. But smartphone adoption is also being driven by price. Subsidized smartphone pricing in the US often makes the devices as cheap to buy ($49 - $99) as feature phones.  

Separately, Flurry Analytics said in a recent report that 78% of US mobile phone users now own smartphones (iOS or Android devices).

 

This caught my attention because this figure (78%) is obviously much larger than the Nielsen and Pew numbers that show 50%+ smartphone adoption. Pew, comScore and Nielsen extrapolate from survey samples to calculate the total number of smartphones in the US market.

I exchanged emails with Flurry seeking clarification of this 78% figure and what it represented. Flurry confirmed my interpretation was correct.

The company is saying that 78% of US adults with active mobile devices are on iOS or Android devices. Flurry says that its data are based on actual usage and its population of device owners globally is in the hundreds of millions. 

Flurry now says there are 165 million active smartphones in the US today. That compares to a PC Internet population of roughly 220 million.