On the heels of recent reports
that saw Apple growing its share of the US smartphone market, Pew Research has released a new study
that looks at the entire US cellphone industry instead of just smartphones. The poll shows that smartphones are now dominant, with 58 percent of the US market. While Android remains the most popular platform with 28 percent of the overall cellphone market, Apple's iOS and its recent growth have nearly caught up, with 25 percent of the market -- a rise of six percent from a year ago.
Pew figures confirm previous studies
that focused on only the smartphone segment, where iOS has just over 40 percent and Android just over 51 percent as of the end of July. While smartphones have rapidly surged over the past two years -- moving from under 40 percent of all cellphone use in the US to 56 percent now -- feature phones have been surprisingly tenacious, particularly among lower-income Americans who are willing to cope with much more limited phones in exchange for a lower monthly cost of ownership.
Much of Apple's growth in the past year continues to come from defecting Windows Mobile and Blackberry users, but numerous reports
have shown that Android penetration in the US market is flat or dropping slowly
, creating new opportunities for the Cupertino manufacturer. Apple is expected to release at least one lower-cost, midrange iPhone model on Tuesday
alongside its latest premium model, the iPhone 5S.
Though the Pew Research poll puts iOS and Android as platforms surprisingly close to each other, it also charts the growth of both mobile OSes, and the decline of competitors. In May of 2011, Android had 15 percent of the total cellphone market, with iPhone and BlackBerry tied at 10 percent each. In February of 2012, smartphones had climbed to nearly even with feature phones, and iOS and Android were surprisingly close: 19 and 20 percent, respectively (with BlackBerry down to six percent). In the latest report, BlackBerry is down to four percent and even Windows Phone has lost half of its former two percent share (which has been consistent since 2011). The new poll is the first time that the annual poll has shown smartphones in the majority, though other more regular polls declared the milestone much earlier in the year.
Likewise, the poll showed that the number of US adults owning a feature phone or no cell phone has dropped dramatically, to 35 percent and nine percent respectively. The study also looked at demographics associated with each group of phone owners, and found unsurprisingly that the iPhone was the preferred choice of those with more education and income, reinforcing earlier studies. Among college graduates, 38 percent owned an iPhone, with 29 percent owning an Android model.
By income, 25 percent of those making between $50,000-$75,000 were iPhone users, 40 percent of those making more than $75,000 were iPhone users, and 49 percent of those making $150,000 or more had iPhones. The figures include all makes of cell phones, not just smartphones. The poll was conducted with 2,252 US adults, including 1,127 in-depth telephone interviews.