It was not long ago that former Apple CEO Steve Jobs took the stage to reveal what the future of mobile phones would look like. We now know smartphones are one of the most rapidly adopted consumer technologies of all time. Analyst Gartner has just put out its latest smartphone market report, and the Q2 2013 numbers show the inevitable has finally occurred: smartphone sales exceeded feature phone sales for the first time.
We already knew that more than half of US consumers had smartphones, and that shipments had grown rapidly in Asia Pacific, Latin American and Eastern Europe over the past years. But Gartner’s report has now revealed that worldwide smartphones sales grew up to 225 million units, a 46.5% increase from the same period last year. This has mostly come at the expense of feature phone sales, which declined by 21% for the same period to 210 million units.
In terms of smartphone operating systems, Microsoft took over BlackBerry for the first time, coming in at no. 3. Android is #1 with 64.2%, and Apple’s iOS finished second with a worldwide market share of 18.8%. Among device manufacturers, Samsung maintained its leading position globally, as its share of smartphone sales reached 31.7%, up from 29.7%. Apple’s smartphone sales reached 32 million units in the second quarter of 2013.
It also now establish that smartphones are spreading faster than any previous technology, according to mobile industry analyst Asymco. Its worldwide adoption rate is higher than thath of the Internet, the refrigerator, the color TV, the automobile, the telephone or electric power.
Smartphones, after a relatively fast start, have also outpaced nearly any comparable technology in the leap to mainstream use. It took landline telephones about 45 years to get from 5 percent to 50 percent penetration among U.S. households, and mobile phones took around seven years to reach a similar proportion of consumers. And as we see, smartphones have gone from 5% to 40% in about four years, despite the recession.