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Mobile Phones - US - March 2016

"Growth in the mobile phones market has slowed down as smartphone ownership hits 80% of consumers. Brands are being pressured to maintain price competitiveness while continually innovating; much of this innovation will come from the software and content side of mobile phones, but there may be hardware-centric opportunities as next-generation content such as virtual reality evolves."
- Bryant Harland, Technology Analyst

This report discusses the following key topics:

  • US smartphone market highly saturated
  • Consumers still uncomfortable with putting personal information on cell phones
  • Continued pressure to be price competitive 
  • Broken or old phones are top purchasing motivations

This report explores consumer attitudes toward purchasing and usage of mobile phones. Topics covered include brands of cell phones owned, the features consumers look for most on path to purchase, and consumer research habits when looking for a new phone.

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • The issues
          • US smartphone market highly saturated
            • Figure 1: Cell phone brands used, December 2015
          • Consumers still uncomfortable with putting personal information on cell phones
            • Figure 2: Interest in making purchases on cell phones, by household income, December 2015
          • Continued pressure to be price competitive
            • Figure 3: Important features for cell phone purchasing, December 2015
          • Broken or old phones are top purchasing motivations
            • Figure 4: Cell phone purchase inspirations, December 2015
          • The opportunities
            • First-time smartphone buyers remain among specific demographic groups
              • Figure 5: Cell phone brands used to receive service, by race, December 2015
            • Market mobile payment to encourage comfort
              • Figure 6: Interest in making purchases on cell phones, by age, December 2015
            • Mobile and next generation media content
              • Figure 7: Factors considered when purchasing new phones, by gender and age, December 2015
            • Create the perception of value
              • Figure 8: Cell phone research resources, Hispanic origin, December 2015
            • What it means
            • The Market – What You Need to Know

              • Unit sales declining
                • Smartphone growth slowing
                  • 5G networks could spur interest in higher quality content
                  • Market Size and Forecast

                      • Figure 9: Total US volume sales and fan chart forecast for mobile phones, 2010-20
                  • Market Breakdown

                    • Smartphone segment growth slowing down
                      • Figure 10: Total US volume sales and fan chart forecast for smartphones, 2010-20
                  • Market Factors

                    • 5G cellular networks are on the horizon
                      • Mobile content evolves: 4K video, virtual reality
                      • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                        • iPhone maintains market growth
                          • Middle of the market hurt by price competitiveness
                            • Xiaomi likely to enter the US smartphone market
                            • What’s Working?

                              • Apple sees continued growth in market share
                                • Figure 11: Leading cell phone brands owned, 2012-15
                            • What’s Struggling?

                              • Low- and mid-tier device market struggles to find consistency
                              • What’s Next?

                                • Xiaomi could disrupt the US mobile phone market
                                  • Figure 12: Brand of current smartphone (China), October 2014 and 2015
                              • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                • Apple sees continued gains in market share
                                  • Mobile payment meets consumer concern over information security
                                    • Price is the most prominent factor for purchase
                                      • Online research is a key part of path-to-purchase
                                      • Cell Phone Ownership and Brands Owned

                                        • Apple continues to climb in the market
                                          • Figure 13: Leading cell phone brands owned, 2012-15
                                        • Apple and Samsung in tight competition among most age groups
                                            • Figure 14: Cell phone brands used to receive service, by age, December 2015
                                          • Apple sees continued success among higher income households
                                            • Figure 15: Cell phone brands used to receive service, by household income, December 2015
                                          • First-time smartphone buyers remain among Black consumers
                                            • Figure 16: Cell phone brands used to receive service, by age, December 2015
                                        • Length of Primary Cell Phone Ownership

                                          • Cellular contracts continue to define mobile phone replacement cycles
                                            • Figure 17: Length of time primary cell phone has been owned, December 2015
                                          • Men and women aged 55+ show longer replacement cycles
                                            • Figure 18: Length of time primary cell phone has been owned, by age, December 2015
                                        • Consumer Opinions Regarding Cell Phones and Cell Phone Purchasing

                                          • Interest in customization high among cell phone owners
                                              • Figure 19: Consumers' opinions regarding cell phones, December 2015
                                            • Interest in making purchases via mobile is high, tendency to do so is low
                                                • Figure 20: Interest in making purchases on cell phones, by age, December 2015
                                              • Many consumers feel information stored on cell phones is unsecure
                                                  • Figure 21: Comfort with putting personal information on cell phones, by household income, December 2015
                                                • Consumers from households with children more receptive to used phones
                                                    • Figure 22: Receptiveness to used phones, by number of children in household, December 2015
                                                • Cell Phone Purchasing Inspirations

                                                  • Broken or old device lead purchase inspirations
                                                    • Figure 23: Cell phone purchase inspirations, December 2015
                                                  • Consumers aged 25-34 are excited about new phones from their favorite brands
                                                    • Figure 24: Cell phone purchase inspirations, by age, December 2015
                                                  • Usage of promotional deals trends upward with household income
                                                    • Figure 25: Cell phone purchase inspirations, by age, December 2015
                                                  • Apple customers more excited about new phones from their favorite brands
                                                    • Figure 26: Cell phone purchase inspirations, by age, December 2015
                                                  • Brand loyalty rises among all early adopters
                                                    • Figure 27: Cell phone purchase inspirations, by early adopters, December 2015
                                                • Important Cell Phone Features for Purchasing

                                                  • The majority of cell phone owners see price as the most important purchasing factor
                                                      • Figure 28: Important features for cell phone purchasing, December 2015
                                                    • Consumers in the Midwest and South show heightened price sensitivity
                                                      • Figure 29: Factors considered when purchasing new phones, by region, December 2015
                                                    • Older consumers put strong emphasis on call quality
                                                      • Figure 30: Factors considered when purchasing new phones, by age, December 2015
                                                  • Resources Used on Path to Purchase

                                                    • Customer reviews slightly ahead of expert reviews on path-to-purchase
                                                      • Figure 31: Cell phone research resources, December 2015
                                                    • Men aged 18-34 show heightened tendency to research phones online
                                                      • Figure 32: Cell phone research resources, by gender and age, December 2015
                                                    • Expert research sources resonate with Hispanics
                                                      • Figure 33: Cell phone research resources, Hispanic origin, December 2015
                                                    • Magazines are an important resource for early adopters
                                                      • Figure 34: Inspiration for cell phone purchases – CHAID – Tree output, December 2015
                                                  • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                    • Data sources
                                                      • Sales data
                                                        • Fan chart forecast
                                                          • Consumer survey data
                                                            • Consumer qualitative research
                                                              • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                • Abbreviations
                                                                  • Terms
                                                                  • Appendix – Market

                                                                      • Figure 35: Total US volume sales and fan chart forecast for basic mobile phones, 2010-20
                                                                      • Figure 36: US volume sales of mobile phones, 2010-15
                                                                      • Figure 37: US volume sales of mobile phones, 2010-15
                                                                  • Appendix – Consumer

                                                                    • Cell phone brand ownership
                                                                      • Figure 38: Cell phone brands owned, 2012-15
                                                                      • Figure 39: Cell phone brands owned – Any ownership, by age, December 2014
                                                                    • Early adopters attitudes and behaviors
                                                                      • Figure 40: Price sensitivity among early adopters, December 2015
                                                                    • Cell phone purchase inspirations
                                                                      • Figure 41: Cell phone purchase inspirations, by household income, December 2015
                                                                    • Consumer opinions regarding cell phones
                                                                      • Figure 42: Consumers' opinions regarding cell phones, December 2015
                                                                    • Important features when purchasing a new phone
                                                                      • Figure 43: Factors considered when purchasing new phones, December 2015
                                                                    • CHAID analysis
                                                                      • Figure 44: Inspiration for cell phone purchases – CHAID – Table output, December 2015

                                                                  Companies Covered

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                                                                  Mobile Phones - US - March 2016

                                                                  £3,199.84 (Excl.Tax)