How close is the smartphone market to saturation?

Original author: Horace Dediu
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The US market cannot be called a market with a maximum penetration rate (smartphones). However, this market is the most extensive among those for which we have reliable (from at least two sources) data, and the penetration level here is one of the highest.

A chart showing the US position relative to other countries for this indicator for the previous year can be found here . A year ago, the penetration rate was 56.4%. I track changes in data from comScore, judging by which the penetration rate at the end of March was at 58.2% and 55.3% at the end of January. Against the background of these indicators, the chart looks very believable.

According to the latest data from comScorepenetration rate reached 68.8%. In order to have an idea of ​​the growth restrictions of a given quantity, it is necessary to consider the pattern of its change over a long period. By analyzing this pattern, it will be possible to understand whether there is a clear inflection point on the chart and, therefore, to predict the level of technology penetration at which the market will saturate (the curve of the chart at the saturation point will approach some asymptote value).

The graph below shows the change in the percentage of the number of smartphone users to the number of people who do not use smartphones since the end of 2009.



The following graph displays the rate of influx of new smartphone users (measured in the number of new users per month).



Summing up, we can say that the speed of users' transition to smartphones remains almost unchanged. So March of '14 brought 2.8 million new users, March of '13 - 3 million, March of '12 - 2 million, March of '11 - 3 million.

Please note that on the graph (to the histogram) I added a curve that (retrospectively) shows the average (for every 3 months) value of the number of new users - the fluctuations of this curve turned out to be relatively predictable due to their seasonality. It is also worth noting that the penetration level of 50% was reached almost 2 years ago, but no significant changes in the process of technology adoption by the company have occurred. The percentage owning mobile phones in the US is still growing (albeit very slowly) and is currently at around 90%.

The only conclusion that can be drawn from the above is that even despite the current penetration rate of 68.8%, the US smartphone market is far from saturated. Given that the United States holds a leading position among “developed markets”, there is hardly any reason to believe that in countries with a larger population, the market was able to achieve saturation.

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