Smartphones Continue to Gain Share as US Mobile Usage Plateaus

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The FINANCIAL — The number of US mobile phone users will increase at a compound annual rate of just 1.8% between 2010 and 2016, eMarketer estimates, moving from nearly 75% penetration to 79% by the end of the forecast period.


The number of total mobile connections in the US, including subscriptions to mobile phones as well as nonvoice devices such as wireless modem cards, netbooks, mobile Wi-Fi hotspots, ereaders, tablets and telematics systems, jumped in 2011 by 11.6%.


Penetration is already above 100% of the population for mobile connections, and that number will continue to grow at a rate above that of mobile phone usage. This growth is largely thanks to the popularity of tablets. Phones, by contrast, are reaching a saturation point at around four-fifths of the population.


Smartphone usage remains another strong growth area. eMarketer estimates the number of US consumers with a smartphone will more than double from 93.1 million at the end of 2011 to 192.4 million by 2016, when 58.5% of the total US population will have a smartphone. This year, just under half of all mobile users in the US will own a smartphone, growing to 55.5% in 2013.


According to eMarketer, growth rates are tapering off as the market matures, but will stay in the double digits through 2015.eMarketer forms its forecast of US mobile users, smartphone users and total mobile connections based on the analysis of survey and traffic data from research firms and regulatory agencies, historical trends, company-specific data, and demographic and socioeconomic factors.

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