eMarketer: The Future of Smart Mobile Devices

Increasing ownership leads to increasing opportunities

FEBRUARY 10, 2011 – Momentum in the mobile device market has swung in favor of smartphones, led by the allure of Apple�s iPhone and the legion of now-viable competitors it has spawned.

Most mobile owners in the US still have only a feature phone, but eMarketer predicts smartphone ownership will rise from 31% of the mobile population this year to 43% by 2015. Nearly 110 million Americans will have a smartphone by the end of that year.

“Smartphone owners already command the majority of marketers� attention,” said Noah Elkin, eMarketer principal analyst and author of the new report “Smart and Getting Smarter: Key Mobile Device Trends for Marketers.” “And the simple reason is: They do more of everything than their counterparts with feature phones: messaging, gaming, listening to music, watching videos, social networking, shopping, using apps and browsing the web.”

As of the end of 2010, eMarketer estimates 30% of smartphone users in the US had a BlackBerry and 28% had an iPhone, the top two operating systems. But Android�s share of the market is rising quickly. Nielsen tracking surveys found Android pulling ahead among recent smartphone purchasers, and eMarketer predicts that by 2012 Android will be the No. 1 mobile OS in the country.

The changing device landscape is encouraging changing usage patterns. eMarketer estimates that time spent with mobile devices is rising faster than for any other medium, up 28.2% in 2010. Smartphone owners, more active with every type of mobile content than feature phone owners, are likely on the leading edge of this trend.

“Marketers need to pay attention to these trends as they project budgets and develop marketing strategies,” said Elkin. “Mobile devices will claim more and more media time per day, while TV, print and radio will slowly lose ground to digital media. For marketers, half the battle of staying relevant is showing up in the right place and on the right platform.”

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