The number of smartphone users around the world is increasing year upon year, with recent figures leading to predications that around 31 million people will own a smartphone in the UK alone before the end of 2013. A report by market research firm eMarketer has also found that this figure is likely to increase by around three million every year through to 2017. It’s not surprising really, when you consider how smartphone technology has advanced over the years, and the large number of Orange, T Mobile and Vodafone mobiles now on sale.
Earlier this year research firm IDC revealed that smartphones have outsold feature phones around the world for the first time ever. During the first three months of 2013, 216.2 million smartphones were shipped, with Samsung’s Android-laden handsets accounting for a staggering 70.7 million of this total sum, pushing it way ahead of its competitors.
As with the majority of countries, Google’s Android mobile platform accounts for the largest market share in the UK, with 15 million active users having bought into the Android market already this year. iOS stands in second place with 8.7 million users, but Windows Phone and BlackBerry have seen a drop of 4% and 14% respectively.
An earlier report by eMarketer, conducted back in May, reveals UK users spend an average of 119 minutes (almost two hours) every day using their device. The two most popular activities were browsing the web, (24%) and checking social networks (16%).
Specialists at marketing agency Absolute Digital Media said of the findings: “This offers a wide opportunity for online businesses. With smartphone usage growing, it’s becoming more and more beneficial to have mobile optimised sites as well as a strong social presence.”
However, we use our handsets for much more than just viewing web pages and keeping up to date with the likes of Facebook and Twitter. Over the last few years smartphones have become the go-to device for completing all manner of tasks, whether it’s booking a holiday, doing the weekly food shop or even keeping track of your bank accounts.
Even the way in which users are able to communicate has been enhanced and more people are utilising the multiple messaging channels that are now available. Brits aged between 18 and 25 send more messages than any other group of mobile users in the UK, with the WhatsApp messaging service dominating this arena. To date the service records around 200 million monthly activations and sees 10 billion messages sent every day.
The way of the world
It’s not just smartphones that are becoming a bigger part of our everyday lives- tablet usage is also increasing, and it’s estimated almost one third of all UK residents will use a tablet this year. User penetration for the tablet and mobile market alike is climbing in every age bracket, and as a result the number of those owning one of these devices is expected to rise by at least 30% every year. Britain already has one of the highest smartphone usage rates in the world, and as tablet devices become even more commonplace, this figure will no doubt increase quickly over a short period of time.
Industry commentators believe the growing ubiquity of smartphones in particular will continue to have a huge impact upon the lives of those that use them. With a range of mobile phone deals now on offer there’s something for everyone these days, and with a greater number of lower-end handsets featuring high-end specs smartphones will only become more appealing to potential consumers.
It’ll certainly be interesting to see how mobile technology advances over the next few years, but judging by how things stand right now, the more innovation accessible to the masses the greater the number of those relying on it.