Smartphone Penetration Crosses Majority Threshold of US Mobile Market

More than half of US mobile device users now own a smartphone, according to the latest comScore MobiLens data. During the 3-month average ending in September 2012, 51% of the 234 million Americans aged 13 and older using a mobile device owned a smartphone (119.3 million). That’s the result of steady linear growth over the previous 12 months: in October 2011, 38.5% of the mobile market (or 90 million) owned a smartphone.

Android and Apple have been the chief beneficiaries of the growth in smartphone penetration over those 12 months. For example, in October 2011, Android and Apple devices combined to control 74.4% of the smartphone market (46.3% Android; 28.1% Apple). By September of this year, they collectively commanded 86.8% share of the market (52.5% Android; 34.3% Apple). The big loser, of course, has been RIM, which has seen its market share halve from 17.2% to 8.4% during that time period.

While Android now holds a majority share of the smartphone market in the US, its stronghold on the global market is even more pronounced. The latest figures from IDC indicate that Android smartphones accounted for 75% share of worldwide shipments in Q3.

Smartphone Adoption Shakes Up The Mobile OEM Market

Meanwhile, the continued popularity of the iPhone (with Apple steadily growing its share of the smartphone market) has meant that Apple has become a more important player in the US mobile OEM market. Whereas in October 2011, Apple ranked as the #4 OEM with 10.8% market share, it now sits just 0.2% points behind LG for the #2 ranking (17.5% vs. 17.7%). Samsung remains the top handset manufacturer, at 26% share of the market, but hasn’t seen any measurable growth from 25.5% 12 months earlier.

Mobile Users More Engaged With Various Activities

As smartphone ownership proliferates within the US, use of smartphone-type activities on mobile phones has also increased. Compared to 12 months earlier, use of downloaded applications by mobile subscribers is up 10.2% points (54% vs. 43.8%), browser use has risen by 8.6% points (52.6% vs. 44%), and accessing of social networking sites or blogs has grown by 6.7% points (39% vs. 32.3%).

Other activities that mobile users are increasingly engaging in on their devices include: texting (75.5% vs. 71.8%); playing games (34.4% vs. 29.2%); and listening to music (28.6% vs. 21.2%).

About the Data: MobiLens data is derived from an intelligent online survey of a nationally representative sample of more than 30,000 US mobile subscribers age 13 and older. Data on mobile phone usage refers to a respondent’s primary mobile phone and does not include data related to a respondent’s secondary device.