The rise in demand for smartphones is responsible for the number of contract customers leaping by almost 20% on last year, according to new research from Ofcom.
In its Consumer Experience report, which was issued today, research revealed 52% of customers with a mobile phone were on a contract, up from 44% in 2010. The growth was largely down to the AB socio-economic group, with almost two-thirds having a contract rather than prepay phone. However, pre-pay remains most popular among those over 65 (80%).
The report said: ‘The growth in the take-up of smartphones (38% of mobile owners) is likely to have played a role in the rise of pay monthly and longer contracts, as users repay much of the cost of an expensive handset over a number of months, rather than upfront. In Q2 2011 83% of adults with a smartphone were on a monthly contract.’
Smartphone sales have increased by 8% between the first and second quarter of this year. Ownership is highest between those aged 16-34, with over half possessing a smartphone. Ofcom suggested the trend of customers favouring contracts would continue because of internet use on mobiles and the fact postpay tariffs include data bundles.
Overall, the take-up of mobiles is stable with 94% of households having access to at least one mobile phone. Homes continue to be more likely to have a mobile than a fixed landline (94% compared to 84%). Mobile phone use is most popular in England and Northern Ireland (92%), with Scottish and Welsh use tracking at 86% and 87% respectively.