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The UK has long been one of the more advanced mobile markets in the world, with rapid adoption of smartphones. But consumers in the US are catching up, eMarketer estimates.
eMarketer expects 65.0% of US mobile phone users, or 51.4% of the total population, to use a smartphone at least monthly in 2014. That compares with two-thirds of mobile phone users in the UK, or 53.7% of the total population. The UK will continue to lead by both of these metrics—but only slightly—throughout our forecast period, thanks to robust growth in the US smartphone market.
Among US smartphone owners, Android-based handsets are the most popular, and eMarketer estimates that they will reach 50.0% penetration this year, while iOS-based handsets continue to claw back share slowly, with 40.5% of the market expected for 2014. Both major operating systems will continue to make slight gains as BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and other operating systems continue to lose significance.
In the UK, operating system shares show a similar pattern, but with a few important differences. Android has a somewhat greater share of the market, while iOS has a smaller one—and BlackBerry and Windows Mobile, along with other systems, still play a greater role.
Smartphone usage in the UK is distributed fairly evenly by age, with only the youngest and oldest groups posting significantly lower shares of the total than average. Usage in the US tilts slightly older. There are also gender differences: In the UK, male smartphone users outnumber females, but in the US, the situation is reversed.
eMarketer bases all of our forecasts on a multipronged approach that focuses on both worldwide and local trends in the economy, technology and population, along with company-, product-, country- and demographic-specific trends, and trends in specific consumer behaviors. We analyze quantitative and qualitative data from a variety of research firms, government agencies, media outlets and company reports, weighting each piece of information based on methodology and soundness.
In addition, every element of each eMarketer forecast fits within the larger matrix of all our forecasts, with the same assumptions and general framework used to project figures in a wide variety of areas. Regular re-evaluation of each forecast means those assumptions and framework are constantly updated to reflect new market developments and other trends.
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