The great cross-over
For anyone still doubting the market opportunity of the smartphone sector, the latest piece of research from Nielsen should put that to rest.
Extrapolating current market share trends and taking into account a recent survey about phone purchasing intentions, Nielsen has plotted a chart comparing the proportion of all phones sold in the US that are feature (i.e. mainstream) phones and smartphones. The chart below has the moment of parity happening sometime around Q3 2011.
Nielsen also found that three quarters of smartphone subscribers in the US stay loyal to their operator when they get a new phone and that four fifths of smartphone users are satisfied with their devices, compared to only two thirds of feature phone users.
The good news for the mobile Internet industry in general is that end-users are fully engaged with the various applications and services available on smartphones. 14 percent of new feature phone users use their phone only for voice communications, but that's true of only three percent of smartphone users. Accordingly, while only five percent of feature phone users use Wi-Fi, half of smartphone users do.
With smartphone sales growing at a much faster rate than feature phones in Western Europe, there's every reason to assume this trend will be replicated over here.