comScore US smartphone market (2005-2012)

Research firm comScore today released a comprehensive report on mobile landscape in the United States and elsewhere and one particular chart stands out as another example of how the smartphone market is a duopoly between iOS and Android, with Apple and Samsung increasingly taking industry’s profits at the expense of – well, pretty much every other handset maker out there.

Spanning 2005-2012, the chart paints an accurate picture of platform dynamics when it comes to the competitive market for connected mobile devices…

comScore’s 2013 Mobile Future in Focus survey notes that the number of smartphone subscribers has increased 29 percent from a year ago and 99 percent from just two years ago.

The research firm remarks that the U.S. smartphone market “finally surpassed 50 percent market penetration and now enters the ‘late majority’ stage of the technology adoption curve.”

Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS now dominate the U.S. smartphone landscape and have guzzled an astounding 90 percent share.

comScore commented on its findings:

Apple continues to gain ground as the leading U.S. smartphone OEM, but Samsung has seen the most explosive growth in this market over the past couple of years with a year-over-year increase of more than 100 percent and a two-year increase of more than 400 percent.

Meanwhile, the pressure is piling on other handset makers to turn profit.

Size comparison (Galaxy S4 vs iPhone 5, Martin Hajek 003)
The Galaxy S4 vs iPhone 5 size comparison rendering by Martin Hajek.

According to Bloomberg, HTC CEO Peter Chou said fighting Apple and Samsung in the U.S. isn’t his top priority.

Developing a good brand is really hard. We come from a company with no experience, no resources for developing a global brand. We have to be friendly. We have great relationships.

HTC is the world’s #4 smartphone maker, behind Samsung, Apple and Nokia.

But as we’ve seen in the case of Apple, a strong brand (in addition to compelling products) goes a long way toward keeping customers happy. In the latest J.D. Power & Associates smartphone satisfaction metrics, Apple ranked first for the ninth consecutive study.

Market dynamics should also benefit the iPhone, especially the global trend toward smartphones.

Gartner (global smartphone OS share, Q42012)
Global smartphone OS share estimates via Gartner

Indeed, an estimated one billion installed smartphone base is projected to grow to two billion smartphone users by year’s end as feature phone users upgrade to smartphones, per Strategy Analytics researchers. Smartphones in the United States have surpassed 125 million consumers and tablets are now owned by more than fifty million people in the country.

“We have now crossed into the Brave New Digital World,” notes comScores, “a new paradigm of digital media fragmentation in which consumers are always connected.”

The chart top of post nails it.

Not only does it highlight how the iPhone’s arrival in 2007 changed everything – see how slopes of the curve for BlackBerry, Windows, Plan and Symbian immediately dropped – but it tells the story of just how fierce and competitive the fast-paced mobile industry is today.

As for Apple, don’t worry – I’m sure Tim Cook & Co. are quite happy with capturing most industry profits with a relatively low market share.

Even Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt acknowledged that Apple won’t blindly pursue market share, telling the audience at the Google Big Tent Summit in India today that “Apple will continue to be a tremendous technology innovator and build beautiful products, regardless of the market share of the products,” adding that in his view Apple “will continue to be the innovator.”

That has got to be worth something, no?

  • Supafly_Boy

    Why does anyone take Comscore’s statistics seriously? Their surveys are based on a sample of 30,000 users and exclude the Enterprise Sector, an area that has very little Android presence. I prefer to rely on Mobile Network stats, which show that the iPhone has out sold Android year on year.

  • These statistics are all estimates, the only company that actually reports mobile device sales quarterly is Apple and Samsung, no one else does

    • That is because only Apple and Samsung make a good profit. All the other companies are earning a marginal profit or at a loss. Samsung and Apple are the top dogs and would brag about their numbers; and they should, considering they deserve them. They are essentially the only current spotlight so their nos are at a check by the analysts, so they have to tell the real nos. Tell me something, if you and your friend are equally qualified, and your friend is earning better than you would your friend not brag about the number; you would tell false numbers or (like most people would) keep silent and don’t disclose any numbers. That is human nature and this the current trend among the smartphone manufacturers.

    • Supafly_Boy

      Sorry you’re wrong there. Samsung does not supply actual sales figures, they prefer to have analyst pull numbers out of thin air. The only company that gives legally binding sales figures (required by the SEC/Shareholders) is Apple.

  • Apple drove the changes people, don’t forget it.

    Before the iPhone was released the likes of Nokia, Samsung and Sony were busy making clamshells.

    Apple made touch screen take off in a big way, they the manufacturers all wanted a touch screen after the iPhone came about.

    And as for tablets…. Well we all know how we’ll they didn’t do before iPad came along.

    • Kurt

      You say it as you are so proud. You had nothing to do with it. haha

      • A proud owner of idevices over the years? Yes of course.

  • Rim would have been above android if Samsung had not copied apple..

  • John Young

    How did rim have so much share in 2010?

    • Kurt

      Bold devices were hugely popular. I never liked them. But those who had them swore by them.

    • Corporate users.