New data from Ofcom helps illustrates how Smartphones are becoming the default device in the UK marketplace. In the first quarter of 2011, they represented 48% of all mobile phone sales, tantalisingly close to the 50% majority. This follows comparable data from the US.
Although sales have fallen a little from 3.7m in Q4 2010 to 3.3m in Q1 2011, the peak Christmas sales play a large part in this stat and we should expect to see continued growth over the course of this year even in tight times for consumers, particularly as free handset deals start to proliferate as the competition increases.
Given we are now into Q3 and the clear trend over the last 6 years, we can safely say that Smartphones now represent the majority of the mobile market in the UK. Of course much is down to the definition of what represents a Smartphone and what is a feature phone. Generally speaking, if it runs an app store, it’s a Smartphone (Ofcom define it as a device running an open operating system).
The growth in Smartphone sales is good news for developers. More handsets running app stores means more sales of apps, albeit with the risk of more fragmentation across devices and platforms.
As an aside, it’s interesting to see that even back in 2008, there were 1m Smartphone sales a quarter showing how long they have been around, but also how it took the iPhone to become the tipping point for unlocking the new revenue streams from app stores and raising awareness of just how powerful and useful Smartphones could be in our lives.