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Mobile Phones - US - February 2015

“Customer loyalty has solidified the position of current market leaders for the short term. However, these and all mobile phone brands will face a mounting pressure to lower prices in light of greater competition globally and approaching smartphone market saturation in the US.”
– Bryant Harland, Technology and Media Analyst

This report looks at the following areas:

  • The impact of manufacturer and operating system loyalty
  • Satisfaction with existing mobile devices
  • Can the mobile phone market continue to be driven by upgrades?

Although Mintel expects the overall phone market to grow through 2019, increasing from 205.1 million units shipped in 2014 to 255.2 million units shipped in 2019, this growth will slow considerably near the end of the forecast period. The number of opportunities in the smartphone market is shrinking as an increasing majority of adults own more advanced devices.

This report identifies opportunities for mobile marketers and device manufacturers for 2015 and provides guidance for the years beyond. Topics covered in this report include average spending on mobile devices, cell phone brands owned, consumers’ mobile phone usage habits and opinions, satisfaction with cell phones and with individual features, and consumers’ mobile phone purchasing habits.

Cell phone owners are overwhelmingly satisfied with their current devices as well as with the majority of individual technical aspects, such as storage and processor speed, that their devices have. Considering the prominent desire for personalization, brands that can better match devices with how consumers use them are likely to gain an edge, especially as competition over price heats up.

As media and consumer usage catches up to the hardware that runs these activities, brands can likely look toward efficiency and usability as key areas of innovation. Many popular activities on smartphones, such as gaming, often lack complexity due to limited interfaces. As a result, the short-term battleground for innovation is likely to be in creating increasingly seamless interfaces – a desire that will be driven further by the abundance of connected and app-controlled devices slated for 2015 and beyond.

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Data sources
          • Sales data
            • Consumer survey data
              • Consumer qualitative research
                • Abbreviations and terms
                • Executive Summary

                    • The market
                      • Figure 1: Total US volume sales and fan chart forecast of mobile phones, 2009-19
                    • Samsung and Apple lead brands owned
                      • Figure 2: Leading Cell phone brands owned – Any ownership, December 2014
                    • The consumer
                      • Factors inhibiting desire to upgrade
                        • Figure 3: Factors affecting consumer desire to upgrade cell phones, by gender and age, December 2014
                      • Loyalty high among cell phone owners
                        • Figure 4: Cell phone manufacturer loyalty, by household size, December 2014
                      • Reaching the tech-savvy consumer
                        • Figure 5: Consumers’ cell phone research habits, by age, December 2014
                      • What we think
                      • Issues and Insights

                          • The impact of manufacturer and operating system loyalty
                            • The issues
                              • The implications
                                • Satisfaction with existing mobile devices
                                  • The issues
                                    • The implications
                                      • Can the mobile phone market continue to be driven by upgrades?
                                        • The issues
                                          • The implications
                                          • Trend Applications

                                              • Trend: Cam Cam
                                                • Trend: Attention Economy
                                                  • Trend: Data Creators
                                                  • Market Size and Forecast

                                                    • Key points
                                                      • Growth in the smartphone market to slow considerably by 2017
                                                        • Figure 6: Total US volume sales and forecast of mobile phones, 2009-19
                                                      • Manufacturers pressured by increasing price competitiveness
                                                        • Segments
                                                          • Figure 7: Total US volume sales and market share of mobile phones, by segment, 2012 and 2014
                                                        • Fan chart forecast
                                                            • Figure 8: Total US volume sales and fan chart forecast of mobile phones, 2009-19
                                                        • Market Drivers

                                                          • Key points
                                                            • Increased data from cellular plans, readily available Wi-Fi: Increased value of smartphones
                                                              • As more consumers turn to the cloud, device specifications become less important
                                                              • Leading Companies

                                                                • Key points
                                                                  • Figure 9: Top three smartphone brands – Any ownership, December 2014
                                                                • Samsung
                                                                  • Apple
                                                                    • LG Electronics
                                                                    • Marketing Strategies and Innovations

                                                                      • Project Ara promises modular cell phones
                                                                        • The next generation of mobile processors: Directional audio recording, 4K streaming support
                                                                          • Improving mobile phone batteries: Lithium-ion and beyond
                                                                            • Current ads focused on camera functionality
                                                                              • Figure 10: Samsung Galaxy S5 ad, April 2014
                                                                              • Figure 11: Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus ad, September 2014
                                                                          • Cell Phone Brands Owned

                                                                            • Key points
                                                                              • Smartphone penetration continues to rise
                                                                                • Figure 12: Cell phone brands owned – Any ownership, by age, December 2014
                                                                              • Smartphone ownership trends upward with number of children in household
                                                                                • Figure 13: Cell phone brands owned – Any ownership, by number of children in household, December 2014
                                                                              • Operating system penetration and profitability
                                                                                • Figure 14: Smartphone operating systems used, by age, December 2014
                                                                            • Feature Phone Ownership and Plans to Upgrade

                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                • Feature phone ownership
                                                                                  • Figure 15: Cell phone brands owned – I use this type of phone as my primary phone, by age, December 2014
                                                                                • Nearly 30% of non-smartphone owners plan to buy one in the next year
                                                                                  • Figure 16: Planned smartphone purchases, by age, December 2014
                                                                                • Reasons for not upgrading to a smartphone
                                                                                  • Figure 17: Reasons for not upgrading to a smartphone, by gender, December 2014
                                                                              • Cell Phone Purchasing Trends

                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                  • Average lifecycle of a cell phone
                                                                                    • Figure 18: Lifecycle of cell phones, by age (mean number of years), December 2014
                                                                                  • Spend on devices continues to increase
                                                                                    • Figure 19: Amount paid for cell phones, July 2009-September 2014
                                                                                • Attitudes and Opinions Regarding Mobile Phones

                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                    • Cell phone hardware is outpacing consumers’ usage
                                                                                      • Figure 20: Cell phone usage habits – Any agree, by gender and age, December 2014
                                                                                    • A market for custom-built smartphones
                                                                                      • Figure 21: Cell phone usage habits – Any agree, by household size, December 2014
                                                                                    • Consumers’ awareness and usage of current features
                                                                                      • Figure 22: Cell phone usage habits – Any agree, by primary cell phone, December 2014
                                                                                  • Satisfaction with Current Phones

                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                      • The overwhelming majority of consumers are satisfied with their phones
                                                                                        • Figure 23: Satisfaction with current phones and features, December 2014
                                                                                      • Young women show demand for more mobile storage space
                                                                                        • Figure 24: Satisfaction with current phones and features – Any satisfied, by gender and age, December 2014
                                                                                      • Camera quality, graphics are pain points for non-smartphone owners
                                                                                          • Figure 25: Satisfaction with current phones and features – Any satisfied, by primary cell phone, December 2014
                                                                                      • Opinions Regarding Purchasing a New Phone

                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                          • Consumers’ desire to upgrade vs. money-saving strategies
                                                                                            • Figure 26: Opinions when purchasing new phones, by gender and age, December 2014
                                                                                          • Consumers with children in household more interested in phones that are preloaded with apps
                                                                                            • Figure 27: Opinions when purchasing new phones, by presence of children in household, December 2014
                                                                                        • Impact of Race and Hispanic Origin

                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                            • Cell phone brands owned
                                                                                              • Figure 28: Cell phone brands owned – Any ownership, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2014
                                                                                            • Manufacturer and operating system loyalty
                                                                                              • Figure 29: Cell phone usage habits – Any agree, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2014
                                                                                            • Cell phones as productivity and social tools
                                                                                              • Figure 30: Usage of cell phones as social and productivity tools – Any agree, by race and Hispanic origin, August 2013-September 2014
                                                                                          • Key Driver Analysis

                                                                                            • Methodology
                                                                                              • Do consumers care about battery life?
                                                                                                • Figure 31: Key drivers of overall satisfaction with primary mobile phone, December 2014
                                                                                                • Figure 32: Overall satisfaction with primary mobile phone – key driver output, December 2014
                                                                                            • Cluster Analysis

                                                                                                  • Figure 33: Target clusters, December 2014
                                                                                                • Loyalists
                                                                                                  • Demographics
                                                                                                    • Characteristics
                                                                                                      • Opportunity
                                                                                                        • Mobile Technology Explorers
                                                                                                          • Demographics
                                                                                                            • Characteristics
                                                                                                              • Opportunity
                                                                                                                • Value Buyers
                                                                                                                  • Demographics
                                                                                                                    • Characteristics
                                                                                                                      • Opportunity
                                                                                                                        • Basic Feature Users
                                                                                                                          • Demographics
                                                                                                                            • Characteristics
                                                                                                                              • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                • Cluster characteristic tables
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 34: Target clusters, December 2014
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 35: Cell phone brands owned – Any ownership, by target clusters, December 2014
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 36: Cell phone brands owned – I use this type of phone as my primary cell phone, by target clusters, December 2014
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 37: Reasons for not upgrading to a smartphone, by target cluster, December 2014
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 38: Lifecycle of cell phones, by target clusters (mean), December 2014
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 39: Cell phone usage habits – Any agree, by target clusters, December 2014
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 40: Satisfaction with current phones and features – Any satisfied, by target clusters, December 2014
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 41: Satisfaction with current phones and features – Any dissatisfied, by target clusters, December 2014
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 42: Opinions when purchasing new phones, by target clusters, December 2014
                                                                                                                                • Cluster demographic tables
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 43: Target clusters, by demographics, December 2014
                                                                                                                                • Cluster methodology
                                                                                                                                • Qualitative Research

                                                                                                                                  • Cell phone usage and desired improvements
                                                                                                                                    • Path to purchase
                                                                                                                                      • Opinions regarding mobile phone brands
                                                                                                                                      • Appendix – Other Useful Consumer Tables

                                                                                                                                        • Cell phone brands owned – Any ownership
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 44: Cell phone brands owned – Any ownership, by household income, December 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 45: Cell phone brands owned – Any ownership, by female and age, December 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 46: Cell phone brands owned – Any ownership, by male and age, December 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 47: Cell phone brands owned – Any ownership, by household size, December 2014
                                                                                                                                        • Cell phone brands owned – Primary cell phone
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 48: Cell phone brands owned – I use this type of phone as my primary cell phone, by household income, December 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 49: Cell phone brands owned – I use this type of phone as my primary cell phone, by male and age, December 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 50: Cell phone brands owned – I use this type of phone as my primary cell phone, by female and age, December 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 51: Cell phone brands owned – I use this type of phone as my primary cell phone, race and Hispanic origin, December 2014
                                                                                                                                        • Operating system of primary cell phone
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 52: Smartphone operating systems used, by age, December 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 53: Smartphone operating systems used, by gender and age, December 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 54: Smartphone operating systems used, by household income, December 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 55: Smartphone operating systems used, by race and Hispanic origin, December 2014
                                                                                                                                        • Average spending on cell phones
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 56: Amount paid for cell phones, by age, August 2013-September 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 57: Amount paid for cell phones, by gender and age, August 2013-September 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 58: Amount paid for cell phones, by race and age, August 2013-September 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 59: Amount paid for cell phones, by Hispanic origin and age, August 2013-September 2014
                                                                                                                                        • Lifecycle of cell phones
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 60: Lifecycle of cell phones, by gender and age (mean), December 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 61: Lifecycle of cell phones, by primary cell phone (mean), December 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 62: Lifecycle of cell phones, by primary cell phone OS (mean), December 2014
                                                                                                                                        • The role of cell phones in consumers’ lives
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 63: Attitudes and opinions about cell phones/smartphones, by age, August 2013-September 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 64: Attitudes and opinions about cell phones/smartphones, by household income, August 2013-September 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 65: Attitudes and opinions about cell phones/smartphones, by gender and age, August 2013-September 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 66: Attitudes and opinions about cell phones/smartphones, by race and age, August 2013-September 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 67: Attitudes and opinions about cell phones/smartphones, by Hispanic origin and age, August 2013-September 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 68: Attitudes and opinions about cell phones/smartphones – Any agree, by race and Hispanic origin, August 2013-September 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 69: Attitudes and opinions about cell phones/smartphones, July 2009-September 2014
                                                                                                                                        • Cell phone usage habits and opinions
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 70: Cell phone usage habits – Any agree, by age, December 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 71: Cell phone usage habits – Any agree, by household income, December 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 72: Cell phone usage habits – Any agree, by male and age, December 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 73: Cell phone usage habits – Any agree, by female and age, December 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 74: Cell Phone Usage Habits – Any agree, by number of children in household, December 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 75: Cell phone usage habits – Any agree, by primary cell phone OS, December 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 76: Opinions when purchasing new phones, by age, December 2014
                                                                                                                                        • Satisfaction with current mobile phones and features
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 77: Satisfaction with current phones and features – Any satisfied, by male and age, December 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 78: Satisfaction with current phones and features – Any satisfied, by female and age, December 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 79: Satisfaction with current phones and features – Any satisfied, by race and Hispanic origin, December 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 80: Satisfaction with current phones and features – Any satisfied, by mobile device ownership
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 81: Satisfaction with current phones and features – Very satisfied, by opinions when purchasing new phones, December 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 82: Satisfaction with current phones and features – Very satisfied, by opinions when purchasing new phones, December 2014 (continued)
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 83: Satisfaction with current phones and features – Any dissatisfied, by male and age, December 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 84: Satisfaction with current phones and features – Any dissatisfied, by female and age, December 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 85: Satisfaction with current phones and features – Any dissatisfied, by race and Hispanic origin
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 86: Satisfaction with current phones and features – Any dissatisfied, by gender and age, December 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 87: Satisfaction with current phones and features – Any dissatisfied, by primary cell phone, December 2014
                                                                                                                                        • Cell phone usage for business
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 88: Cell phone business use, by age, August 2013-September 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 89: Cell phone business use, by household income, August 2013-September 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 90: Cell phone business use, by race and age, August 2013-September 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 91: Cell phone business use, by Hispanic origin and age, August 2013-September 2014
                                                                                                                                        • Cell phone purchasing habits
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 92: Opinions when purchasing new phones, by age, December 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 93: Opinions when purchasing new phones, by household income, December 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 94: Opinions when purchasing new phones, by primary cell phone, December 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 95: Opinions when purchasing new phones, by primary cell phone OS, December 2014
                                                                                                                                      • Appendix – Key Driver Analysis

                                                                                                                                          • Interpretation of results
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 96: Overall satisfaction with primary mobile phone – Key driver output, December 2014
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 97: Satisfaction with current phones and features, by primary cell phone, December 2014
                                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                          Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                          To learn more about the companies covered in this report please contact us.

                                                                                                                                          Mobile Phones - US - February 2015

                                                                                                                                          £3,277.28 (Excl.Tax)