Nielsen: Nearly 60 percent of all new cell phones sold are smartphones

Nielsen: Nearly 60 percent of all new cell phones sold are smartphones

Summary: Tablets have found success by expanding upon the potential media and mobile uses beyond the capabilities of smartphones, according to Nielsen analysts.

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Nearly half of all cell phone users own smartphones, according to global research firm Nielsen. About 60 percent of all new devices being sold are also smartphones.

"We should appreciate the scale and speed of all this taking place," said Jonathan Carson, general manager of Digital at Nielsen. Carson informed the audience at GigaOM's Mobilize conference in San Francisco on Monday morning that the industry is definitely out of the early adopter phase and into the mainstream arena.

"The level of familiarity and usage is growing," said Phil Hendrix, director of research and consulting firm immr and an analyst for GigaOM Pro, "It's not universal yet." Hendrix added that there are still some hurdles to consumers and providers alike, including handing sensitive data and infrastructure issues. Using NFC technology as an example, Hendrix argued that these features are being added to more devices, but it will take some time for the corollary in stores to grow and meet demand.

Recalling on some of Nielsen's more recent surveys, Carson noted that among those choosing a new smarpthone, 56 percent selected an Android device. However, iOS still shouldn't be slighted at only 28 percent as it has done quite well in the last three months and hasn't seen a decline in the market share. Approximately five percent have opted for a BlackBerry and the remaining six percent went with other operating systems.

Additionally, the top 50 Android apps in the Android Market take up 65 percent of an Android user's time spent on apps. However, Carson warned that we shouldn't get the idea that this is a stable space dominated by the largest media companies as there is usually a tremendous change over the course of three months. At least one in five apps in the top 50 in July were not in the top 50 the following month.

Some of the more profound findings deal with the mobile benefits surrounding smartphones and tablets.

"Mobile introduces a concept of 'always on, always with you' media consumption," Carson said. Smartphone usage was found to stable and strong throughout most daytime hours, with a dip in the primetime segment.

However, tablets have found a place in the mobile market by improving upon smartphone features. Carson posited that one of the reasons that the tablets have grown into such a vibrant category is that users are finding so many different ways to make use of their tablets.

"When tablets were first released, there were a lot of questions about how this category would work," Carson said. Questions ranged from asking if tablets were just expensive e-readers to smartphones with bigger screens. The answer, Carson affirmed, is yes to these things and more.

Tablets do quite well within the categories that smartphones do very well, such as reading up on news, streaming radio, and sports. But tablets are becoming the preferred device for accessing high-grade content categories such as books, magazines, TV shows and movies.

But tablets don't always have consumers' undivided attention. The survey revealed that tablet owners spend at least 23 percent toggling between the tablet and watching TV at least several times a day.

Rather than trying to lure consumers away from one or the other, Carson suggested that there is an opportunity here for advertisers to present more of a surrounded environment for their audience.

Topics: Tablets, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility

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11 comments
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  • If the plans were more affordable.....

    I would have 3 more on my family plan. I just cant afford the cost of a smartphone for all 3 teens. I truly cannot believe that it needs to cost more than $50/per month for a decent smartphone plan that includes at least 2gb of data and unlimited text/pic messaging and free mobile to mobile mins. As soon as the carriers figure that out, they will sell many more smartphones!
    tgschmidt
    • RE: Nielsen: Nearly 60 percent of all new cell phones sold are smartphones

      @tgschmidt
      wp7 has really old specs... Samsung why bother with this disaster? Even Samsungs own smartphone OS BADA Outsells wp7.
      Sultansulan
      • RE: Nielsen: Nearly 60 percent of all new cell phones sold are smartphones

        @Sultansulan
        Apple, Google, and Microsoft can provide a comprehensive ecosystem. Both have gaps remaining, but no one can touch those three (Amazon might have the best shot). Looking at the ecosystem, MS isn't doing that badly, and they'll make some headway in phones - enough to be a credible player.
        WebSiteManager
    • RE: Nielsen: Nearly 60 percent of all new cell phones sold are smartphones

      @tgschmidt -

      agreed.

      The market is saying "Everybody wants smartphones", and then it becomes a need because - surprise! - nobody offers the basic phone-only device or phone-only plans. This trend will continue until it becomes absolute. Like other elements of cloud computing, we are only as free as market forces let us think we shall be.
      HypnoToad72
  • RE: Nielsen: Nearly 60 percent of all new cell phones sold are smartphones

    Pretty much the only thing holding people back are data plans. Throw in a shared data plan for families and you'll see smartphone sales skyrocket even more.
    Aerowind
    • RE: Nielsen: Nearly 60 percent of all new cell phones sold are smartphones

      @Aerowind - until the data cap is reached. :) If profiting from fees wasn't lucrative before, it soon will be. :D
      HypnoToad72
  • RE: Nielsen: Nearly 60 percent of all new cell phones sold are smartphones

    Again, Android 56% and now they hold 54% worldwide market share.

    I agree that some data plans should be more reasonable.
    slickjim
  • Define it please

    What exactly are they calling a smartphone now-a-days?
    Clue: I walked into ATT and Verizon and received two different answers. :O
    rhonin
  • RE: Nielsen: Nearly 60 percent of all new cell phones sold are smartphones

    That is because the phone carriers increased the price of a feature phone data plan to almost match that of a smart phone plan. Might as well go with the smartphone as it has more features.
    LoverockDavidson_-24231404894599612871915491754222
  • How Long Before Linux (Android) Becomes World's Most Popular OS?

    At this rate it'll probably surpass the current leader--Symbian--sometime next year or so.
    ldo17
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