Smartphones are now present in 86% of U.S. broadband households and have reached similar levels of penetration in mature Western European markets, according to new market research from Parks Associates released in advance of the Mobile World Congress, which will take place in Barcelona February 22-25.
Apple continues to lead the global smartphone OEM league rankings, holding a 40% share of the market. Samsung is gaining ground, however, capturing 31%. Third-ranked LG follows at 10%, according to Parks’ ¨360 View: Mobility & the App Economy.¨
Smartphone Upgrade Trends
U.S. smartphone owners typically wait two years before upgrading to new models, according to Parks. In conducting its latest market research, Parks found that 1/3 of iPhone owners are still using a model more than two years old. That compares to 30% among Samsung-Android smartphone owners.
“Operators are pulling out all the tricks to encourage phone upgrades,” Parks’ director, Health & Mobile Product Research, was quoted as saying. “The once-familiar two-year contract, which tied consumers to a two-year phone upgrade cycle, is gradually fading.
¨U.S. carriers started to do away with two-year contracts in 2012, and by the third quarter of 2015, only 51% of mobile consumers had a contract, down from almost 70% at the end 2011.”
T-Mobile’s customer-centered approach and ¨maverick ‘uncarrier’ moves“ have forced AT&T and Verizon to “reexamine how they design and market services to consumers,¨ Wang added. ¨They have responded with moves that either match T-Mobile’s initiatives or benefit their customers in a different way.”
Other highlights of Parks’ latest smartphone market research include:
- More than 70% of smartphone users now watch short streaming video clips, and more than 40% watch long streaming videos on their devices.
- Almost 40% of smartphone users use the voice recognition function; among iPhone users, more than half have used Siri.
Other advanced smartphone activities include the following:
- 36% use Wi-Fi calling
- 35% stream music from the phone to speakers
- 26% use a payment app for purchases at a retail location
- 24% stream video from the phone to a second screen (e.g., TV, PC, etc.)