Although the overall U.S. market for mobile phones declined in the first quarter of this year, sales of smartphones increased.
According to market-research firm NPD Group, mobile phone sales to consumers in the U.S. reached nearly 31 million units, a 22 percent decline since the same quarter a year ago.
However the amount spent on phones declined much less. NPD estimates total first quarter 2008 consumer sales of nearly $2.7 billion, down from $2.9 billion a year ago. This is because may people are paying more for their handset, as they are looking for devices with more capabilities.
Smartphones and High-End Feature Phones
Smartphones made up 17% of all U.S. mobile phone sales in the first quarter of this year. While that’s still small segment of the market, it’s an increase of 10 percentage points over the same period a year ago.
And U.S. consumers are increasing expecting more from their phone. For example, last quarter 79% of phones purchased had Bluetooth technology, up from 65% during the same quarter a year ago.
In addition, 60% of phones purchased in this time period were music enabled, versus 41 percent the prior year ago quarter.
Results by Company
Motorola maintained its lead in the U.S. market last quarter among manufacturers of mobile phones of all types; however, its share of unit-sales declined from 35% to 27% year over year.
RIM, maker of the BlackBerry line, improved its ranking, edging out Sanyo as the fifth largest mobile phone manufacturer based on the number of handsets sold in the U.S. in Q1 2008.
Among wireless carriers, AT&T maintained a slight lead in the number of unit sales with a 27% share, versus 26% for Verizon Wireless and 12% for T-Mobile.