Mobile Devices – Market statistics and generating revenue

This is a follow up post to my earlier piece on  7 steps to build a successful mobile strategy and brand

Here we take a detailed look at mobile Smartphone market shares across a number of countries in order to identify the priority Smartphone platforms for development.

From the beginning of mobile applications, the device market has always been fragmented. Developers have always had to choose where they put their investments and spend their time. Since the iPhone and the launch of the iPhone App Store this decision has been made easier because most people now start with iPhone.  And some go no further than this. However the success of Android devices over the last two years has made Android a compelling application platform.

And where do the long running platforms such as Blackberry, Symbian and Windows Mobile now stand?

Recent figures shown in Figure 1. below from Kantar Worldwide provide a very good picture of recent Smartphone sales.

These number show Smartphone sales as percentage of the total in each of the countries shown, measured over 12 weeks up to 4th September via consumer surveys.

In the UK we can see that Android has 48.3% of smartphone sales, up from 26.9% in last 12 months. iPhone has 20.8% down from 29.4% in last 12 months. However that doesnt mean that iPhone sales are falling. Because the smartphone market is growing fast. In fact Kantar also suggest that 67% of all mobile phone sales in the UK are smartphones.

So developing an application for iPhone and Android gives an addressable market of just under 50% of all new mobile phones in the UK.

In terms of other platforms RIM’s Blackberry devices show 21.2% of Smartphone sales in the UK and increasing their share over 12 months. So roughly 10% of recent phones sold in UK are Blackberry. However the Blackberry share in the US has plummeted from 21% to 6.2% in the course of 12 months. Symbian market share has dropped across all countries in light of Nokia’s announcements early this year to move to Windows Mobile 7 as their strategic smartphone platform. However Windows Mobile 7 is only showing a significant rise in market share in Germany, up to 5.6% from zero.

So developer choices seem to come down to iPhone and Android currently with possibly Blackberry in some European countries and wait and see on what impact Windows Mobile 7 makes when Nokia launches their first phones.

In terms of generating revenue and building an audience around a mobile phone platform we need to take a look at some of the statistics from the app stores. WebpageFX provide a nice summary. This shows :-

Paid Apps vs Free

iPhone 71% paid

Android 41% paid

Blackberry 75% paid

Apps per phone

iPhone 48

Android 35

Blackberry 15

Average price of Top 100 paid apps

iPhone $2.14

Android $4.57

Blackberry $5.61

The above suggests iPhone and Blackberry users are more likely to purchase paid for apps and overall an iPhone user will likely download more apps than the others. But the iPhone App Store is very competitive so driving down prices.

Figure 1.