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Mobile Phones - US - March 2019

What you need to know

Apple and Samsung dominate the smartphone market, while Google has made a little progress in the short period it has competed in the space. Brand loyalty is extremely high among both Apple and Samsung, and to a lesser extent even among LG owners, so brands will have a difficult time converting current owners to an alternate.

"The US mobile phone industry is well established, with more than 100 million units sold annually for more than five straight years. However, sales growth has slowed, as the majority of consumers have already migrated from feature phones to smartphones, and now need additional impetus to upgrade."
- Buddy Lo, Senior Technology Analyst

This report will cover the following areas:

  • Market size and forecast of mobile phone sales in the US
  • Smartphone purchase intent within the next two years
  • Smartphone brands owned and considered
  • Smartphone accessories used
  • Attitudes toward smartphones

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • Overview
          • The issues
            • Forecast for mobile phones stagnant before introduction of 5G spurs growth
              • Figure 1: Total US mobile phone sales and fan chart forecast, in units, 2013-23
            • Strong brand loyalty makes it difficult for challengers
              • Figure 2: Smartphone brands considered, by smartphone brand owned, January 2019
              • Figure 3: Smartphone brands considered, by smartphone brand owned, January 2019
            • A better camera alone isn’t enough for smartphone owners to switch brands
              • Figure 4: Attitudes toward smartphones – Switching and brands, by smartphone brands owned January 2019
            • The opportunities
              • Four in 10 plan on purchasing within the next year
                • Figure 5: Smartphone purchase intent, January 2019
              • Engagement with smartphone accessories correlates to purchase intent
                • Figure 6: Smartphone purchase intent, by count of smartphone accessories used, January 2019
              • English-speaking Hispanic Millennials a critical target for tech products
                • Figure 7: Smartphone purchase intent and attitudes, by Millennials and Hispanic origin, January 2019
              • What it means
              • The Market – What You Need to Know

                • Unit sales forecast to continue downward trend through 2020
                  • Smartphone penetration eclipses 80%
                    • Apple sees record number of battery swaps in 2018
                      • Trade-in programs hope to minimize impact of refurbished market
                      • Market Size and Forecast

                        • Downward trend forecasted until next generation of phone tech
                          • Figure 8: Total US mobile phone sales and fan chart forecast, in units, 2013-23
                          • Figure 9: Total US mobile phone sales and forecast, in units, 2013-23
                      • Market Breakdown

                        • Feature phone sales account for just 7% in 2018
                          • Figure 10: Total US mobile phone sales, in units, by segment, 2013-18
                        • Smartphone penetration north of 80% in 2018
                          • Figure 11: Mobile phone ownership and type of phone used, 2011-18
                          • Figure 12: Smartphone users, by household income, 2012-18
                          • Figure 13: Mobile phone ownership and type of phone used (among internet users), 2011-18
                          • Figure 14: Smartphone users, by household income (among internet users), 2012-18
                      • Market Perspective

                        • Impact of 5G on mobile devices is still too early to determine
                          • 5G rollout could link network providers with specific brands
                            • More than half of US households no longer have access to a landline
                              • Apple replaces nearly 11 million iPhone batteries in 2018
                              • Market Factors

                                • Trade disputes bring uncertainty and potential price increases
                                  • Political pressure limits Huawei’s presence in the US
                                    • Refurbished second-hand market can impact new phone market
                                      • Figure 15: Sprint iPhone X upgrade retention email, December 2018
                                      • Figure 16: Apple iPhone Xr upgrade retention email, part 1, December 2018
                                      • Figure 17: Apple iPhone Xr upgrade retention email, part 2, December 2018
                                  • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                                    • Apple’s iPhone still the king of the hill
                                      • Apple and Samsung top repeat consideration among current owners
                                        • Mobile gaming ready to take the next step
                                          • Chinese companies like Huawei face political hurdles in US
                                          • Company and Brand Market Share of Mobile Phones

                                            • Apple iPhone user market share growth stops in 2018
                                              • Figure 18: Brand of smartphone, by mobile phone users, 2012-18
                                          • What’s Working?

                                            • Apple has the most loyal smartphone owners
                                              • Google garnering significant interest among smartphone shoppers
                                              • What’s Struggling?

                                                • Apple will no longer report unit sales on iPhones
                                                  • Alternative non-carrier brands get little to no consideration
                                                  • What’s Next?

                                                    • 5G technology will refresh buying demand
                                                      • Foldable touchscreens begin to enter the market
                                                        • Figure 19: Video of Royole Flexpai demo at CES 2019, January 2019
                                                      • Mobile gaming could attract a new type of gaming consumer to the smartphone market
                                                        • Smart home products, accessories could impact smartphone purchasing
                                                        • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                          • Apple commands majority of the market
                                                            • High accessory usage correlates with purchase intent
                                                              • Smartphone owners don’t want to switch operating systems
                                                                • More than half of non-shoppers are happy with their current phones
                                                                • Smartphone Ownership

                                                                  • Smartphone ownership nearing universality
                                                                    • Figure 20: Smartphone ownership, January 2019
                                                                • Smartphone Brands Owned

                                                                  • Apple and Samsung command majority of the smartphone market
                                                                    • Figure 21: Smartphone brands owned, January 2019
                                                                  • Apple most popular among younger women
                                                                    • Figure 22: Smartphone brands owned – Apple, by gender and age, January 2019
                                                                  • Apple draws high-end market, LG draws budget shoppers
                                                                    • Figure 23: Smartphone brands owned – Apple, Samsung, LG, by household income, January 2019
                                                                • Smartphone Accessories

                                                                  • Audio and protection top uses among consumers
                                                                    • Figure 24: Smartphone accessories, January 2019
                                                                  • Younger higher-income consumers key to new device adoption
                                                                    • Figure 25: Smartphone accessories – Select items, by age and household income, January 2019
                                                                  • Gamers like to accessorize their tech
                                                                    • Figure 26: Smartphone accessories, by gaming profiles, January 2019
                                                                    • Figure 27: Samsung Galaxy Note9 Fortnite pre-order promotion, acquisition email, August 2018
                                                                • Smartphone Accessories – Repertoire Analysis

                                                                  • Half the market uses three or more accessories with their smartphones
                                                                    • Figure 28: Repertoire analysis, smartphone accessories, January 2019
                                                                  • Number of accessories used correlates with age, gender, and income
                                                                    • Figure 29: Number of accessories used, by gender and age, January 2019
                                                                    • Figure 30: Number of accessories used, by age and income, January 2019
                                                                  • One third of Hispanic smartphone owners use five or more accessories
                                                                    • Figure 31: Repertoire analysis of smartphone accessories used, by race and Hispanic origin, January 2019
                                                                  • Users of multiple accessories are more likely to buy and shop different brands
                                                                    • Figure 32: Smartphone purchase intent, by repertoire of smartphone accessories used, January 2019
                                                                    • Figure 33: Smartphone brands considered, by repertoire of smartphone accessories used, January 2019
                                                                    • Figure 34: Attitudes toward smartphones, by repertoire of smartphone accessories used, January 2019
                                                                • Smartphone Purchase Intent

                                                                  • Four in 10 plan to purchase within the next year
                                                                    • Figure 35: Smartphone purchase intent, January 2019
                                                                  • Youngest consumers show highest purchase intent
                                                                    • Figure 36: Purchase intent – Within the next year / in the next three months, by gender and age, January 2019
                                                                    • Figure 37: Purchase intent – Within the next year, by generation, January 2019
                                                                  • Non-Apple owners more likely to be in the market
                                                                    • Figure 38: Purchase intent – Within the next year / two years, by smartphone brands owned, January 2019
                                                                  • Opportunity to partner with console gaming
                                                                    • Figure 39: Smartphone purchase intent, by gaming profiles, January 2019
                                                                  • English-speaking Hispanic population shows higher purchase intent
                                                                    • Figure 40: Smartphone purchase intent, by race and Hispanic origin, January 2019
                                                                • Smartphone Brands Considered

                                                                  • Apple and Samsung lead for consideration among in-market shoppers
                                                                    • Figure 41: Smartphone brands considered, January 2019
                                                                  • Whopping 97% of Apple owners considering staying with the brand
                                                                    • Figure 42: Smartphone brands considered, by smartphone brands owned, January 2019
                                                                    • Figure 43: Smartphone brands considered, by smartphone brand owned, January 2019
                                                                  • Apple has greatest consideration among youngest iGen demographic
                                                                    • Figure 44: Smartphone brands considered, by generation, January 2019
                                                                  • English-speaking Hispanic Millennials considering the most brands
                                                                    • Figure 45: Smartphone brands considered, by race and Hispanic origin, January 2019
                                                                • Desired Features

                                                                  • Battery length and durability top consumer desires
                                                                    • Figure 46: Desired features, January 2019
                                                                  • Parents and younger shoppers looking for a better camera
                                                                    • Figure 47: Desired features, by gender and age, January 2019
                                                                    • Figure 48: Desired features, by parental status, January 2019
                                                                    • Figure 49: Smartphone brands considered, by desired features – Better camera (NET), January 2019
                                                                    • Figure 50: Google Pixel 3 print advertisement, November 2018
                                                                  • Samsung succeeds with shoppers seeking gaming and virtual reality
                                                                    • Figure 51: Smartphone brands considered, by desired features, January 2019
                                                                    • Figure 52: Samsung Galaxy S8 virtual reality informational email, part 1, January 2018
                                                                    • Figure 53: Samsung Galaxy S8 virtual reality informational email, part 2, January 2018
                                                                  • TURF Analysis
                                                                    • Methodology
                                                                      • Figure 54: TURF analysis of desired features, January 2019
                                                                  • Reasons for Not Planning to Buy

                                                                    • Phone satisfaction tops consumer reasons for not buying
                                                                      • Figure 55: Reasons for not planning to buy, January 2019
                                                                    • Satisfaction with current phone increases with age
                                                                      • Figure 56: Reasons for not buying, by age, January 2019
                                                                  • Attitudes toward Smartphones

                                                                    • Consumers hesitant to switch brands
                                                                      • Figure 57: Attitudes toward smartphones – Switching and brands, by smartphone brands owned, January 2019
                                                                    • Majority of 18-24s think they spend too much time on their phones
                                                                      • Figure 58: Attitudes toward smartphones – Time, by age, January 2019
                                                                    • Younger generations buy into biometric security
                                                                      • Figure 59: Attitudes toward smartphones – Biometrics, by generations, January 2019
                                                                      • Figure 60: Desired features, by attitudes toward smartphones – Biometrics, January 2019
                                                                    • Gender and age the determining factors behind size preference
                                                                      • Figure 61: Attitudes toward smartphone size, by gender and age, January 2019
                                                                  • Attitudes toward Smartphones – Cluster Analysis

                                                                    • Cluster analysis
                                                                        • Figure 62: Cluster analysis of attitudes toward smartphones, January 2019
                                                                      • Gender and age split cluster groups
                                                                        • Figure 63: Gender and age distribution, by cluster groups, January 2019
                                                                        • Figure 64: Cluster group distribution, by gender and age, January 2019
                                                                      • Tech Phone-atics
                                                                        • Characteristics
                                                                          • Figure 65: Attitudes toward smartphones – Select items, by cluster groups, January 2019
                                                                        • Opportunities
                                                                          • Figure 66: Smartphone purchase intent, by cluster groups, January 2019
                                                                          • Figure 67: Attitudes toward mobile networks – 5G, by cluster groups, January 2018
                                                                        • Empty Smart Nesters
                                                                          • Characteristics
                                                                            • Figure 68: Attitudes toward smartphones – Time, by cluster groups, January 2019
                                                                            • Figure 69: Smartphone brand owned, by cluster groups, January 2019
                                                                            • Figure 70: Attitudes toward smartphones – Select items, by cluster groups, January 2019
                                                                          • Opportunities
                                                                            • Figure 71: Attitudes toward smartphones – Select items, by cluster groups, January 2019
                                                                          • Simple Phone Folk
                                                                            • Characteristics
                                                                              • Figure 72: Attitudes toward smartphones – Select items, by cluster groups, January 2019
                                                                            • Opportunities
                                                                              • Tech-Life Balancers
                                                                                • Characteristics
                                                                                  • Opportunities
                                                                                  • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                    • Data sources
                                                                                      • Sales data
                                                                                        • Fan chart forecast
                                                                                          • Consumer survey data
                                                                                            • Direct marketing creative
                                                                                              • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                                • Abbreviations
                                                                                                  • Terms

                                                                                                  Mobile Phones - US - March 2019

                                                                                                  US $4,395.00 (Excl.Tax)