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Mobile Phone Market Slowing Down
(10/05/2012 13:25:11)

Over 22 million people in the UK will looking to sell an old phone and upgrade to a new device in the next 12 months. Will you be one of them?

The UK smartphone market could encounter its first hurdle as stalwart feature phone owners resist the lure of a new smartphone, forcing the major mobile vendors to try and steal business away from their competitors rather than hook new smartphone users.

Presently, around 53% of the mobile-using population in the UK – around 60 million – own a smartphone, but it remains uncertain whether or not the chunk of feature phone users will migrate to smartphones as quickly as those who have already taken the plunge, who have done so in a relatively swift 5 year period.

The overall world market for mobile phones shrank by 2%, according to research company, Gartner, as the total number of mobile phones sold totalled 419m. In the face of this decline, Android continued its meteoric rise within the smartphone market, constituting 56% of total smartphone shipments in a sector which grew by 44.7% to 144.4m 

This time last year, Android phones were 36.4% of the smartphone market, topping out at 36.4m units. Fast-forward 12 months and their figures more than doubled to 81m; with record-selling mobiles such as the Samsung Galaxy S2 driving Android’s market share up by nearly 20 points in the past year. The only other mobile phone company to come close to this level of success were Apple, whose figures rose to 33.1m units and 22.9%, compared to 16.9% and 16.9m units a year ago when the total smartphone market fell just short of 100m.

Nokia, who were once the best-selling mobile phone company in the world see nothing but bleak times ahead, with their Symbian smartphone OS falling flat and their partnership with Microsoft yet to bear fruit, Nokia’s fall from grace looks set to quicken; especially as there are now slimmer pickings for all of the mobile phone big-hitters.

"The pool of feature phone users left to trade up is beginning to diminish," said Dominic Sunnebo, global consumer insight director for ComTech, a comunications company. "This means that smartphone manufacturers need to step up their game and find ways of stealing consumers from their competitors – something that usually proves harder than convincing existing customers to trade up from feature phone to smartphone."

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