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Smartphones to account for half of UK mobile market next year

Smartphones to account for half of UK mobile market next year

A vast majority of people buying smartphones for the first time opt for Android

We're just a year away from smartphones accounting for more than half of UK mobile owners, according to figures reported by The Guardian.

According to sales data the year on year increase of smartphone ownership (around 2.5 per cent since April 2010) will see the tipping point occur in 12 months time.

At that point, more people will own smartphones than the so-called feature or dumb phones.

Android-based smartphones are the main culprits for the continuing surge in smartphone sales, apparently. Nearly three quarters of Android sales in the UK are made up of users upgrading to smartphones for the first time.

Less than two per cent of Android sales came from people switching from the likes of the iPhone. Android users have surpassed those of Nokia's soon to be end-of-life Symbian operating system in Spain, while significant chunks of RIM and iPhone users have also migrated from Symbian.

Apple, meanwhile, has failed to capitalise on the huge increase in the market in the last 12 months - despite making huge headway in its userbase it's total market share fell from 30.6 per cent to 18.3 per cent as the smartphone market increased as a whole.

Perhaps the most interesting facts surround first-time purchases; many first time smartphone owners that have opted for cheaper models will be prepared to spend more on their second purchase and are also more likely to switch brands. After this, they quickly become fearsomely loyal, with Android owners favouring the OS, with Apple owners not wanting to relinquish their app purchases.

What do you make of the news? Have you swapped between makes or operating systems recently? Let us know in the forum.

26 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
SexyHyde 11th July 2011, 13:35 Quote
Big love for android. i can use it, my dumb friends have no problem with it and my technophobic father even enjoys using it. i was interested in rim/bb but android had the better looking future at the time, which is important when we are talking about 24month contracts.
Bauul 11th July 2011, 15:15 Quote
It's already happened - Smartphones outsold "dumbphones" in the UK back in March 2011. This is from counting up all the sales of phones in the UK each week as well, not from a survey.
EvilMerc 11th July 2011, 15:23 Quote
I bought a Droid (a Desire) and, frankly, I regret not splashing out on an iPhone 4. Everything on Android just feels like it's all still in beta, and the number of glitches nearly outstrip my terrible old Nokia 5800.

I mean sure, you get more choice and you get some more freedom with Android, but why is that a good thing in a phone, I want something that works as and when I need it to. I can deal with the odd glitch in Windows because there's no real time factor, but when I'm out and about and I need to call/text/whatever and it freezes, the lock screen screws up or some other stupid glitch occurs I just hate it.

And @Bauul, in case you hadn't noticed, people don't buy a new phone every week to use, people use the same phone they had a year or more ago in a lot of cases. Use =/= No. of sales.
Combatus 11th July 2011, 16:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bauul
It's already happened - Smartphones outsold "dumbphones" in the UK back in March 2011. This is from counting up all the sales of phones in the UK each week as well, not from a survey.

They might have outsold them, but the article refers to the whole market - ie everyone who owns a mobile phone, not just those who bought one in March. Dumbphones might have been outsold in March, but they still account for more than half of phones out there in the UK - this is set to change next year.
wuyanxu 11th July 2011, 16:07 Quote
i hope Apple will not miss the trick here for their new iPhone announcement.

as said in the article, most people buy a cheap smartphone first, before placing their loyalty on a particular platform. that's how i entered touchscreen smartphone market: iphone 2G on cheap first, then upgrade to iphone 4 on its release. (heavily tempted by 3GS, but was poor as a student)

so if Apple can produce an iOS phone cheaper than HTC Wildfire to draw people into their eco system. Apple may gain quite a large market share from this smartphone boom.
VipersGratitude 11th July 2011, 16:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wuyanxu
so if Apple can produce an iOS phone cheaper than HTC Wildfire to draw people into their eco system. Apple may gain quite a large market share from this smartphone boom.

They can't. Part of the appeal with Apple is it's exclusivity due to cost of entry. Apple's marketing mirrors that of a fashion company after all...

I should dredge up the posts from my history where I predicted exactly this ;)
Bauul 11th July 2011, 17:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Combatus
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bauul
It's already happened - Smartphones outsold "dumbphones" in the UK back in March 2011. This is from counting up all the sales of phones in the UK each week as well, not from a survey.

They might have outsold them, but the article refers to the whole market - ie everyone who owns a mobile phone, not just those who bought one in March. Dumbphones might have been outsold in March, but they still account for more than half of phones out there in the UK - this is set to change next year.

Ah okay fine, that was me reading the article too fast - my bad! Although in my defence the following 90% of the article is about what phones the respondants had just bought.

Interestingly, I worked in the industry for a couple of years, mostly with phone manufacturers, and from their point of view "ownership" figures were pretty unimportant. Basically this is because so many people hold on to their phones for years, they might own a particular brand but they're not contributing to the market in any way.

Instead, they were far more interested in how many phones sold each month/quarter/year, which was a far more immediate concern, as it's on that that a company lives or dies.
kosch 11th July 2011, 18:17 Quote
I'm very much looking forward to moving to Android when my contract is up in a few months as Nokia really left me with out a paddle in terms of Apps/Updates for the N900. Great hardware/software but without the apps its a bit boring!
PCBuilderSven 11th July 2011, 19:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by kosch
I'm very much looking forward to moving to Android when my contract is up in a few months as Nokia really left me with out a paddle in terms of Apps/Updates for the N900. Great hardware/software but without the apps its a bit boring!

I've got no problem with the apps on the n900 - then again all I wan't is a python interpreter, c++ compiler and an x terminal so I probably don't classify as the average smartphone user.
javaman 11th July 2011, 20:36 Quote
Smartphone count increases yet available bandwidth, data speed and data allowances decrease.
PingCrosby 11th July 2011, 20:54 Quote
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Star*Dagger 11th July 2011, 21:50 Quote
Since everyone needs 2 phones in any case (business & personal), I got an iPhone and an android based phone, they both have features I really love, whomever can meld the 2 into 1 will make billions!!!

Cheers,
S*D
TWeaK 11th July 2011, 22:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by kosch
I'm very much looking forward to moving to Android when my contract is up in a few months as Nokia really left me with out a paddle in terms of Apps/Updates for the N900. Great hardware/software but without the apps its a bit boring!

I feel your pain mate, though a fair bit more! I got an N97 on release with a 2 year contract and BOY did I suffer. Just got myself a Samsung Galaxy S2 and I'm not looking back :D

For those who favour Apple over Android, I say to each their own. Android can be a brilliant platform, but obviously the hardware isn't anywhere near as well vetted as Apple. If you get a great phone than IMO it's better than iOS as a platform.
Kovoet 11th July 2011, 22:38 Quote
I would say my shop at the as in merchandising is 60% smartphones at the moment and sales wise at 40% smartphones now
SexyHyde 12th July 2011, 00:55 Quote
the n900 isnt a smartphone - well nokia didnt sell it as one. they constantly said it was a mini/palm computer with phone function. and it was squarely aimed at the techie types who fancied getting dirty with something, one of the reasons they were quite difficult to get hold of.
Jaybles 12th July 2011, 11:26 Quote
And half of the people buying Android phones go "Huh? Whats Android?". To them its just buying a fancier phone.
Xir 12th July 2011, 12:11 Quote
I'm a candidate for a "dumb phone".
As my criterium for 90% is "Long Battery Lifetime".
I'm old enough to have had phones that barely lasted a day, and it's a bloody annoyance.

Anything under a weekend is unacceptable.
An week is a must.
two weeks is what I get from any old nokia (with a new battery)

The only thing "Smart" I'd like the phone to do is have a free (connectionless) GPS map.
OVI-maps offer this, but alas only for the dying Nokias
Kovoet 12th July 2011, 12:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xir
I'm a candidate for a "dumb phone".
As my criterium for 90% is "Long Battery Lifetime".
I'm old enough to have had phones that barely lasted a day, and it's a bloody annoyance.

Anything under a weekend is unacceptable.
An week is a must.
two weeks is what I get from any old nokia (with a new battery)

The only thing "Smart" I'd like the phone to do is have a free (connectionless) GPS map.
OVI-maps offer this, but alas only for the dying Nokias

Unfortunately there Nokia will soon all be windows based phones
Andy Mc 12th July 2011, 13:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by VipersGratitude
Quote:
Originally Posted by wuyanxu
so if Apple can produce an iOS phone cheaper than HTC Wildfire to draw people into their eco system. Apple may gain quite a large market share from this smartphone boom.

They can't. Part of the appeal with Apple is it's exclusivity due to cost of entry. Apple's marketing mirrors that of a fashion company after all...

I should dredge up the posts from my history where I predicted exactly this ;)

Word on the net is Apple will be launching two phones, a budget iPhone 4GS and the iPhone 5.
Apple are now playing catch up in the phone market to be honest, they are fair too behind the Android world in terms of specs, price and market share. As good as the new iPhone 5 will likely be, the Samsung Galaxy S3 will likely eclipse it.
Bauul 12th July 2011, 15:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Mc

Word on the net is Apple will be launching two phones, a budget iPhone 4GS and the iPhone 5.
Apple are now playing catch up in the phone market to be honest, they are fair too behind the Android world in terms of specs, price and market share. As good as the new iPhone 5 will likely be, the Samsung Galaxy S3 will likely eclipse it.

When they did that with the iPhone 4 launch, and as far as I know the "budget" iPhone 3GS didn't do nearly as well as the iPhone 4, or the proper iPhone 3GS when it launched a year earlier.

People buy iPhones because they're expensive and premium, even when offered a (relatively) cheaper older version people didn't particularly buy it. Apple is so fashion led, no-one wanted last year's tech.
Kovoet 12th July 2011, 16:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Mc
Word on the net is Apple will be launching two phones, a budget iPhone 4GS and the iPhone 5.
Apple are now playing catch up in the phone market to be honest, they are fair too behind the Android world in terms of specs, price and market share. As good as the new iPhone 5 will likely be, the Samsung Galaxy S3 will likely eclipse it.

And there is a 2GB Galaxy out soon
Paulg1971 12th July 2011, 19:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaybles
And half of the people buying Android phones go "Huh? Whats Android?". To them its just buying a fancier phone.

Sounds like a an apple fan boy!
Sloth 12th July 2011, 22:19 Quote
I'll be one of those switching from dumb to smart within a year, due for an upgrade Dec. 29th.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paulg1971
Sounds like a an apple fan boy!
Oh please, we've gone quite a ways without crazed anti-Apple fanatics, let's keep it that way.

His point is that many smartphone buyers have no idea what OS their phone uses, to them it's just a shiny new phone that does more than their old phone. A lot of people don't realize that two different phones from two different manufacturers may well both use the Android OS, they think in terms of brand only.
thehippoz 12th July 2011, 22:38 Quote
if you don't have an iphone.. you don't have an iphone :)

how come all hardcore iphone users have droopy eyelids

heard this picture hangs over jobs desk to keep him motivated
http://photos.demandstudios.com/getty/article/151/130/83286937_XS.jpg
Xir 13th July 2011, 13:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kovoet
Unfortunately there Nokia will soon all be windows based phones
Interesting to see if the "Ovi" brand of free software will continue in the WinPhone universe ;)
Bauul 13th July 2011, 14:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sloth
I'll be one of those switching from dumb to smart within a year, due for an upgrade Dec. 29th.Oh please, we've gone quite a ways without crazed anti-Apple fanatics, let's keep it that way.

His point is that many smartphone buyers have no idea what OS their phone uses, to them it's just a shiny new phone that does more than their old phone. A lot of people don't realize that two different phones from two different manufacturers may well both use the Android OS, they think in terms of brand only.

I'm not so sure to be honest, at least not with Android.

Any phone that runs off Android features it heavilly in marketing material and feature sets. Anyone who's looked at buying a new phone will have heard of Android - they might not know exactly what it is, but they understand that

a: Android phones work similar to each other
b: You get the Android app-store

In fact, more recent promotions have begun describing phones as "the greatest Android phone at X" or "the most powerful Android phone at Y". In many respects, Android devices are becoming a subset of the market unto the themselves, and the products that run Android are marketed as much by the fact that they are an Android as the manufacturer who made them.

Windows Phone 7 is also going down that route - how many adverts have you seen about it that doesn't even mention the actual phone products until the very end?
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