March 13, 2012 06:00 ET

New Research Report Forecasts by Year-End 2016, 96% of All U.S. Mobile Handset Sales Will Be Smartphones

iGR Research Majority of Growth in the U.S. Smartphone Market Segment Will Occur Prior to 2014

AUSTIN, TX--(Marketwire - Mar 13, 2012) - Within 2011 alone, U.S. users were buying considerably more smartphones than they were in 2010. By the end of the year, approximately 76 percent of handsets sold were smartphones. This is notable, as only approximately 33 percent of U.S. mobile handset sales were attributable to smartphones in 2009.

iGR's new market research report, U.S. Smartphone Forecast, 2011 - 2016, previews the expected sales for 2011-2016 both in terms of non-smartphone, and smartphone devices and mobile operating systems (OSes). Recent trends within the market are also discussed and applied to the conversation about the future of handset sales to end users through 2016.

Some of the factors that led to this increase across U.S. users include: a rise in upgrade and replacement sales as non-smartphone users transition to smartphones, enterprise user trends (more personal liable smartphones in use), advancements in mobile device hardware and software, carrier network developments (e.g., increasing 3.5G availability), and increased consumer demand for mobile devices that fit a portable, data-driven lifestyle.

These trends, and others, provide support for the upward swing in total mobile handset sales, but particularly that of smartphones, in the U.S. through 2011, and are expected to continue. In fact by 2016, iGR expects approximately 96 percent of U.S. handset sales to be comprised entirely of smartphone sales.

"The growth in the U.S. smartphone market has been very strong in the last few years," said Iain Gillott, president and founder of iGR, a market research consultancy focused on the wireless and mobile industry. "But as the market becomes saturated, smartphone sales growth will slow. For OEMs who are hoping to gain, or regain, market share in the U.S., the time to act is now. By 2014, we believe the majority of the smartphone sales growth will be over."

At present, the smartphone market has hit something of a design impasse, with all OEMs attempting to out-design Apple with a 'shiny black glass block' design approach (although materials vary, the design similarities between smartphones are amazingly small at present). And given the growth in smartphone sales together with the very high market entry costs, iGR believes it unlikely that significant new OEMs will enter the market in the next few years.

iGR anticipates that the majority of growth in the U.S. smartphone market segment will occur prior to 2014. This suggests that equipment vendors and manufacturers, as well as software developers, are likely to see the greatest gains should they enter the market earlier on. Such front-loaded expansion also indicates that certain mobile OSes, especially Apple and Android who are the current market leaders, may be better poised for sustained long-term growth than other mobile OSes who are either just entering the market or currently faltering or repositioning.

The following key questions are addressed in the new research study:

  • What were U.S. handset sales from 2009 - present?

  • What were U.S. smartphone sales from 2009 - present?

  • What are the current U.S. wireless device trends?

  • What are current U.S. wireless consumer trends?

  • What are the current trends in U.S. wireless services?

  • What are the anticipated U.S. handset sales for 2012-2016?

  • What are the expected U.S. smartphone sales for 2012-2016?

  • Which smartphone operating systems are expected to prevail in 2012-2016?

  • What are the expected sales for the major smartphone OS in the U.S. in 2012-2016?

The new report can be purchased and downloaded directly from iGR's website from the following link: U.S. Smartphone Forecast, 2011 - 2016. Alternatively, contact Amanda Louie at (512) 554-1701 or at for additional details on this report as well as information on the Wireless and Mobile Landscape advisory service.

U.S. Smartphone Forecast, 2011 - 2016:

Wireless and Mobile Landscape Research Advisory and Subscription Service:

About iGR
iGR is a market strategy consultancy focused on the wireless and mobile communications industry. Founded by Iain Gillott, one of the wireless industry's leading analysts, in late 2000 as iGillottResearch, iGR is now entering its twelfth year of operation. iGR continuously researches emerging and existent technologies, technology industries, and consumer markets. We use our detailed research to offer a range of services to help companies improve their position in the marketplace, clearly define their future direction, and ultimately improve their bottom line.

iGR researches a range of wireless and mobile products and technologies, including: smartphones; tablets; mobile applications; bandwidth demand and use; small cell architectures; DAS; LTE; WiMAX; VoLTE; IMS; NFC; GSM/GPRS/UMTS/HSPA; CDMA 1x/EV-DO; iDEN; SIP; macro-, pico- and femtocells; mobile backhaul; WiFi and WiFi offload; and SIM and UICC

A more complete profile of the company can be found at

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