Pyramid Points - Smartphone Addiction Touches 41% of UK Users
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Smartphone Addiction Touches 41% of UK Users

July 18, 2012

Smartphone addiction is real, and nearly half of the UK’s smartphone users say they suffer from it. This is the most tantalizing tidbit gleaned from new statistics released by Ofcom, the nation’s telecommunications regulatory body, in its analyst briefing today.

The Ofcom team also shared some interesting end user stats they pulled together about smartphone and device usage, and a couple of those stand out:

  • People in the UK are now more likely to text than to make a phone call.
  • More than half (58%) of people communicated via SMS on a daily basis in 2011, while less than half (47%) made a daily mobile call. For the first time, mobile call volumes decreased in 2011.
  • Smartphone and tablet ownership has rapidly increased over the past 12 months in the UK, with tablet ownership increasing from 2% in 2010 to 11% in 2012.

Ofcom’s data shows that younger age groups are keener smartphone adopters: 66% of those 16-24 and 60% of those 25-34 have a smartphone, but only 11% of those who are 55+.

In speaking of smartphone addiction, a full 41% of respondents, when asked to rate on a scale of 1 to 10 how addicted they are to their mobile phones (with 10 representing “completely addicted” to 1 “not at all addicted”), point to high levels of addiction (7 or higher). That compares to a meager 37% in 2011.

Exhibit 1: Self-reported smartphone addiction, UK, 2012
Source: Ofcom

This is an important trend in a market where smartphones account for 65% of all handsets sold in 2012 and will increase to 90% by 2017 (see our Q2 Smartphone Forecast). The impact of these findings is already reflected in the smartphone market dynamics in the UK and abroad, with the rise of “cool” brands like Samsung and Apple capturing a large share of the market.

As young people graduate into higher purchasing power, we do expect an increasing demand in the sophistication of the devices, which should help minimize price erosion. Between 2012-2017, we expect the average selling price of smartphones to decrease at around 5% CAGR, despite the tough competition in the market and the introduction of compelling low- and mid-range smartphone options.

Exhibit 2: Smartphone sales, and percentage of handsets sold, UK, 2010-2017

Source: Pyramid Research Q2 2012 Smartphone Forecast

— Sylwia Boguszewska, Senior Analyst

Related resources:

Pyramid Research Smartphone Forecast
Forecasts published quarterly
The Smartphone Forecast tracks annual handset sell-through of total mobile handsets and smartphones for a ten-year period including five historical years and five forecast years. Smartphone sell-through is segmented by vendor and by operating system. Granular data is provided for each of more than 50 countries, making our smartphone forecast the most detailed on the market today.

UK: Content and Connectivity Provide Growth Opportunities for UK Telcos
Country Intelligence Report published November 2011
The UK Intelligence Report is the best available analysis on market trends, regulatory environments, and competitive dynamics, providing detailed competitive analysis on fixed and mobile sectors, tracking market adoption of new technologies and services such as WiMAX, IPTV, and VoIP.


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