NPD Reports Smartphone Growth Spurt
According to The NPD Group, the U.S. smartphone market has entered a significant growth spurt. October 2006 sales soared 230 percent from January 2006, rising from 216,000 units to nearly 715,000. On a quarterly basis in 2006, smartphone sales have risen more than four percentage points to more than 6 percent of new phones sold through October in the fourth quarter of 2006. The report also includes a list of the top 5 selling smartphones in the US, which includes two Palm OS Treo models.
"The long-awaited growth in smartphone sales comes at a crucial time for carriers who have been anticipating wider adoption of smartphones,” said Neil Strother, research director for wireless devices at The NPD Group. “For the past couple of years, carriers and their handset suppliers have been hoping more buyers would migrate to these devices, since smartphone owners tend to spend much more on wireless data than those who don’t own them."
Here’s the breakdown of the top sellers from August through October:
The current top five best-selling smartphones reflect a shifting market that’s no longer limited to Treos and BlackBerries. Motorola’s Q has come on strong, and actually led sales between August and October 2006. The key reasons behind the overall growth in smartphone sales included the following:
- Prices have declined by 10 percent on average since January 2006.
- More smartphone choices are available – Motorola Q, Palm Treo 700p, BlackBerry Pearl and Nokia’s E62 have all entered the market this year alone.
- Smartphones meet the growing demand for personal e-mail usage, which has doubled since March 2006.
- More robust devices are now capable of better handling of music and video applications.
- Devices now boast significantly greater data storage capacity than standard phones, and many provide slots for removable memory cards.
- Smartphones can now take advantage of faster networks for quicker data transfers and Web browsing.
“All of this is welcome news to carriers, and not just because devices are moving in record volume,” Strother said. “The simple fact is that smartphone owners spend more on data and are therefore more attractive customers.”
Smartphone users spent an average of $6.31 per month for wireless data in the third quarter. By comparison, owners of all types of mobile phones spent just $0.89. “It’s no wonder carriers covet smartphone owners so much,” Strother said.