Understand the current trends and opportunities within the smartphones and accessories category in the US market. Use Mintel’s research to become more informed and tackle challenges in your industry. This report reveals an overview of the smartphone market currently, how exactly economic instability has affected smartphone consumer behavior, and ways for brands and companies to adjust to the current consumer climate. Read on to discover our insights.

Smartphone Market Landscape

As smartphone ownership reaches saturation in the US, usage continues to shift to messaging, social sharing, entertainment, and life management. Despite this, only half of consumers plan to buy a new device in the next year, as new models lack the excitement of years prior.

US adults are also choosing to prolong the life of their phones until damage or poor functionality necessitates replacement. As economic conditions improve, brands will want to incentivize upgrades out of choice, enjoyment, and pleasure – not just necessity.

Smartphone Market Trends and Accessories Statistics

Economic instability appears to be prolonging the time between phone purchases. This report reveals that there has been a decrease in consumers who have purchased a new smartphone in the past 6 months. While this behavior shift may be situational, it’s not likely to be short lived. As discussed, consumers are holding onto their phones until an issue with functionality negatively impacts operation.

In terms of accessories and wearable technology trends, the most reported wearable technology owned and synced with smartphones are wireless earbuds, followed by smartwatches, and wireless headphones. These products eclipse others, such as activity trackers, which points to the strong draw of products that are positioned as contributing to and enhancing the phone experience.

  • Smartphone consumer behavior: 40% of consumers cite a broken or shattered screen as the reason to buy a new smartphone, which is more than for other factors such as new models being released.
  • Smartphone consumer trends: 23% of consumers bought a new smartphone in the past 6 months (December 2022), down from 26% (March 2020).
  • Wearable technology trends: 45% of smartphone users own wireless earbuds, leading the accessories and wearable technology market for tech owned and synced with smartphones.

Find further insight, such as smartphone purchasing behaviors by age group, in the full report, alongside expert analysis.

Smartphone and Accessories Market Opportunities

US consumers are holding onto their smartphones for longer, and this limits revenue generation from smartphone sales. However, there is an opportunity here for development and sales of equipment and accessories that extend phone life, such as screen protectors, phone cases and external batteries.

Long battery duration is followed by quick charging for desired battery and charging related features. Given that a dead battery renders a phone useless for consumers – two-thirds of whom keep their smartphone with them at all times – brands can find resonance with consumers by emphasizing battery advantages. Similarly, beyond inherent battery quality, brands can promote battery-related accessories development, such as external batteries, quick charging components, and wireless chargers.

Find a comprehensive breakdown of the opportunities and challenges in the smartphone and accessories market in the full report. Or, browse our extensive technology market research to find exactly what you’re looking for.

This Report Looks at the Following Areas

  • Smartphone purchase history and purchase intent.
  • 5G capable smartphone ownership and interest.
  • Motivations for purchasing a smartphone.
  • Smartphone formats of interest.
  • Wearable technology ownership.
  • Smartphones and accessories attitudes and behavior.

Covered in this Report

Brands: Apple, Samsung, Motorola, Google, LG, HTC, Sony, Blackberry, and more.
Phones/accessories: iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, Motorola ThinkPhone, Sony Xperia, Sony LinkBuds, SHIFTphone, SafeSleeve, Motorola Rzr, and more.

Expert Analysis from a Lifestyles Specialist

This report, written by Fiona O’Donnell, a leading analyst in the lifestyles sector, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends in the smartphone and accessories market and add expert context to the numbers.

US adults are increasingly reliant on their smartphones, making the devices a necessity. Consumer dependence helps to buffer the category from steep losses amid consumer cost-cutting; however, shoppers are making cost-savings choices that suggest an openness to varying functionality and brands that help them rein in their tech spend.

Fiona O'Donnell, Director - Multicultural, Lifestyles, Travel & Leisure

Fiona O’Donnell
Senior Director – US Reports

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • This Report looks at the following areas
        • Definition
          • Market context
          • Executive Summary

              • Top takeaways
                • Market overview
                  • Figure 1: Smartphones and accessories outlook, 2023-27
                • Opportunities and challenges
                  • Consumers are holding on to their smartphones for longer
                    • Figure 2: Timing of most recently acquired smartphone, 2020-22
                  • Phone purchase is driven by issues with current phone
                    • Figure 3: Smartphone purchase motivators, 2022
                  • Focus on the battery quality for the widest reach
                    • Figure 4: Desired smartphone features, 2022
                  • Keeping accessory development close to phone functionality will be an easier sell
                    • Figure 5: Wearable technology owned, 2022
                  • Key consumer insights
                  • Market Value Indicators

                    • Relatively stable, potentially saturated smartphone market
                      • Figure 6: Consumer expenditures on telephone and related communication equipment, 2012-22
                  • Market Factors

                    • Inflation is top of mind and impacting spend
                      • Figure 7: Consumer Price Index change from previous period, 2020-22
                      • Figure 8: Disposable personal income change from previous period, 2020-22
                      • Figure 9: Consumer Sentiment Index, 2020-22
                      • Figure 10: Spending behaviors in the past two months, 2022
                      • Figure 11: Spending habits – Technology and communications, 2021-22
                    • Consumers becoming more and more reliant on their phones
                      • Figure 12: Smartphone activities in the past 30 days, 2021-22
                      • Figure 13: Smartphone activities in the past three months, 2019-22
                    • Support consumers contending with phone fatigue
                      • Figure 14: Sony LinkBuds | Always on. Never off, 2022
                  • Key Players

                    • Apple leads smartphone ownership, but Samsung continues to gain
                      • Figure 15: Smartphone brand owned, 2019-22
                      • Figure 16: Smartphone brands considered, 2019-22
                    • Apple beats Samsung nearly four to one among youngest adults
                      • Figure 17: Smartphone brand owned, by age, 2022
                      • Figure 18: Smartphone brands considered, by gender and age, 2022
                    • Apple resonance weakens alongside financial security
                      • Figure 19: Smartphone brand owned, by financial situation, 2022
                      • Figure 20: Smartphone brands considered, by financial situation, 2022
                    • Motorola ThinkPhone looks for growth outside of the consumer market
                      • Sony aims at professional aspirations and content creation
                        • Figure 21: Sony Xperia 5 IV Instagram post, 2023
                    • Competitive Strategies and Market Opportunities

                      • Appealing to consumers looking to make smarter choices
                        • Figure 22: Designed with the planet in mind Instagram post, 2023
                        • Figure 23: Sony LinkBuds S Earth Blue Instagram post, 2022
                      • Tech safety accessories can promote personal wellness
                        • Figure 24: SafeSleeve Instagram post, 2023
                      • There’s room to be smarter than most consumers
                        • Figure 25: Digital technology use and interest, 2022
                    • The Smartphone and Accessories Consumer – Fast Facts

                      • Economic uncertainty prolongs time between phone purchases
                        • 43% of smartphone owners planning a new purchase within the next year
                          • 5G capability is now the norm
                            • Issues with current phone drives new smartphone purchase
                              • Focus on qualities related to battery life for the widest reach
                                • Accessories that enhance the phone experience have strongest draw
                                • Smartphone Purchase History and Intent

                                  • About half of smartphone owners have purchased in the past year
                                    • Figure 26: Timing of most recently acquired smartphone, 2020-22
                                  • About four in 10 owners plan to purchase a new phone within the next year
                                    • Figure 27: Smartphone purchase intent, 2020-22
                                  • Younger shoppers exhibit highest rate of new phone acquisition
                                    • Figure 28: Timing of most recently acquired smartphone, by age, 2022
                                  • One in five men 18-34 plan to buy a new phone in the next three months
                                    • Figure 29: Smartphone purchase intent, by gender and age, 2020-22
                                  • Phone replacement not limited to financially healthy
                                    • Figure 30: Timing of most recently acquired smartphone, by financial situation, 2022
                                  • Black consumers show some of the highest smartphone turnover
                                    • Figure 31: Smartphone purchase intent, race and Hispanic origin, 2022
                                • 5G Smartphone Ownership and Interest

                                  • Two thirds of smartphone owners own a 5G capable phone
                                    • Figure 32: 5G smartphone ownership and interest, 2020-22
                                  • A quarter of Motorola/LG owners plan to buy a 5G phone in the next year
                                    • Figure 33: 5G smartphone ownership and interest, by smartphone brand owned, 2022
                                  • 5G hooked young adults, on the radar for middle-aged
                                    • Figure 34: 5G smartphone ownership and interest, by age, 2022
                                • Smartphone Purchase Motivators

                                  • New phone holdouts will buy when there’s a need, not for new models
                                    • Figure 35: Smartphone purchase motivators, 2022
                                  • Women are price sensitive, more responsive to price incentive
                                    • Figure 36: Smartphone purchase motivators, by gender, 2022
                                  • Speed is key for young adults
                                    • Figure 37: Smartphone purchase motivators, by age, 2022
                                  • Those struggling financially are more willing to suffer through phone issues
                                    • Figure 38: Smartphone purchase motivators, by financial situation, 2022
                                • Smartphone Formats of Interest

                                  • Traditional slate/bar format garners highest interest by far
                                    • Figure 39: Smartphone formats of interest, 2022
                                  • Women are less interested in larger formats
                                    • Figure 40: Smartphone formats of interest – Any rank, by gender, 2022
                                  • Youngest adults overwhelmingly want slate/bar phones
                                    • Figure 41: Smartphone formats of interest – Any rank, by age, 2022
                                  • Apple owners loyal to slate/bar, Samsung users open to new formats
                                    • Figure 42: Smartphone formats of interest – Any rank, by smartphone brand owned, 2022
                                • Desired Smartphone Features

                                  • Long battery life is the strongest draw, 5G capability also important
                                    • Figure 43: Desired smartphone features, 2022
                                  • Apple owners most interested in advanced features, security
                                    • Figure 44: Desired smartphone features, by smartphone brand owned, 2022
                                  • Older shoppers interested in battery life, camera features interest women
                                    • Figure 45: Apple smartphone collages Instagram post, 2023
                                    • Figure 46: Desired smartphone features, by gender and age, 2022
                                • Wearable Technology Owned

                                  • Two thirds of smartphone owners sync with some sort of wearable tech
                                    • Figure 47: Wearable technology owned, 2022
                                  • Apple owners are most engaged in wearable tech
                                    • Figure 48: Wearable technology owned, by smartphone brand owned, 2022
                                  • Wearable tech ownership diminishes with age
                                    • Figure 49: Wearable technology owned, by gender and age, 2022
                                  • Earbuds/headphones are universal accessories, others are nice-to-haves
                                    • Figure 50: Wearable technology owned, by financial situation, 2022
                                • Smartphones and Accessories Attitudes and Behaviors

                                  • Half of smartphone buyers make a phone case their first accessory
                                    • Figure 51: Smartphones and accessories attitudes and behaviors, 2022
                                  • Apple owners are most reliant on their phones
                                    • Figure 52: Smartphones and accessories attitudes and behaviors, by smartphone brand owned, 2022
                                  • Young women are most likely to keep their smartphone with them
                                    • Figure 53: Smartphones and accessories attitudes and behaviors, by gender and age, 2022
                                  • Battery life and charger integrity can be value indicators
                                    • Figure 54: Smartphones and accessories attitudes and behaviors, by financial situation, 2022
                                • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                  • Data sources
                                    • Consumer survey data
                                      • Abbreviations and terms
                                        • Abbreviations
                                          • Terms

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