Smartphone growth slows in UK

28 March 2012

LONDON: Almost half of UK consumers now own a smartphone, but the growth in uptake of these devices seems to be slowing.

YouGov, the research firm, surveyed more than 4,000 people, and found that 42% of feature phone owners planned to buy a smartphone the next time they replaced their handset.

This marked a lift of just 6% since similar analysis 12 months ago, suggesting the shift towards these appliances is starting to moderate.

"The slow speed of this conversion is an indication that smartphone manufacturers and retailers need to do more in order to shift perception and remedy concerns about rejection amongst standard mobile owners," the analysis stated.

Overall, however, smartphone penetration has increased from 18% in December 2009 to 47% at present, during which time feature phones have seen a drop from 82% to 53%.

Similarly, when discussing purchase intent, 75% of the panel expect to buy an iPhone or alternative such gadget when next making a category purchase, dropping to 17% for feature phones.

Among current feature phone owners, 55% cited "being happy with their regular mobile phone" as a reason for not having made such a switch to date.

Other key factors included "having no need for a smartphone" on 47%, the fact these handsets are "too expensive" on 32%, their cost of tariffs on 30% and the "complexity" of these gadgets on 16%.

Russell Feldman, associate director of YouGov's technology and telecoms team said: "Manufacturers such as HTC and Samsung, as well as OEM handsets, are successful at attracting low-end smartphone users and could potentially help convert standard mobile users.

"The 'one size fits all' approach does not work in this instance and customer service needs to be tailored to suit the requirements of the customer. The groups that are rejecting smartphones do not usually find empathetic sales staff in the retailers they frequent."

Data sourced from YouGov; additional content by Warc staff