The cost of handsets and lack of demand are slowing smartphone growth in the UK but Samsung and HTC are best placed to convince feature phone owners to trade-up, a new report has claimed.
According to a report by YouGov's technology and telecoms team, almost half (47%) of mobile owners use a smartphone, although growth is slowing. Apple is the most popular smartphone manufacturer, with a 30% share. Samsung is second with 20%, with HTC and BlackBerry both on 17%. However, the report said BlackBerry has 'steadily' lost share during the past two years.
The study also claimed manufacturers will face a challenge in converting feature phone owners, with many sceptical about the value of smartphones. More than 40% of owners said they had no need for a smartphone, while over half said they were happy with their current device. Only 16% of current feature phone owners said they would trade up in the next 18 months.
YouGov said Samsung was 'in a great position' to convince consumers to buy smartphones, because of its 25% share of the feature phone market. It said Samsung and HTC's lower priced smartphone portfolio would also help consumers trade-up, with up to 40% of feature phone owners saying smartphones are too expensive.
While Nokia dominates the feature phone market with a share of more than 40%, YouGov said the Finnish manufacturer would not have as much success converting customers. It said: 'Unlike Samsung, Nokia lacks smartphone market share and has famously struggled to capture the current market with its smartphone offerings.'
John Gilbert, consulting director of YouGov's technology and telecoms team, said: 'This situation may be a case of Nokia coming to the smartphone party, too little and too late – their loss of share may be permanent.
'To address the various barriers to smartphone conversion requires a better understanding of the complacent and currently satisfied feature phone market. Smartphone features, such as the wide variety of apps, need to be communicated more effectively, as they will play an increasingly crucial role in handset selection in the future.'
Editor: Graeme Neill