Smartphone adoption in the U.S. is accelerating even faster than most analysts predicted, with nearly 110 million Americans owning a smartphone device in April, up 44 percent from a year ago. Almost half (47.5 percent) of all feature phone owners are now switching to a smartphone when it comes time to upgrade, a surge of almost 10 percentage points over the prior year.
The study of first-time U.S. smartphone owners, which was conducted by comScore, also showed the increasing popularity and affordability of Android devices, which accounted for the lion’s share of first-time smartphone purchases. Among those feature phone subscribers that acquired a smartphone in the prior month, 61.5 percent chose an Android device, while 25.2 percent opted for the iPhone. Windows phones (7.1 percent) and BlackBerrys (4.8 percent) were distant also-rans.
In comparison, among existing smartphone subscribers that acquired a new smartphone device in the past month, 54.2 percent chose an Android device while 33.5 percent preferred the iPhone. BlackBerry devices accounted for 9.6 percent of new purchases, while Windows phones represented 3.0 percent. The figures are particularly troublesome for BlackBerry maker RIM, as it confirms that the overwhelming majority of sales of new BlackBerry devices are to existing BlackBerry owners, with little growth coming from new customers.
Overall, the study indicates the tremendous strength of the smartphone market in the U.S. and the potential still to come, as the number of smartphones in use finally overtakes the number of feature phones.
“The growing number of smartphones available to consumers, accompanied by the decrease in price points and surge in mobile media content, have made smartphone ownership possible and desirable for many more Americans,” said Mark Donovan, comScore SVP of Mobile. “Within the year, we expect to see smartphone owners become the mobile majority, a milestone that represents not only the evolution of the mobile landscape but highlights the enormous potential for marketers as these powerful, ubiquitous devices open new opportunities to reach a growing audience of consumers.”