Britain has entered the ‘peak smartphone’ era according to consultancy firm Deloitte.
The annual survey by Deloitte found that 81% of the UK population (37 million people) own or have access to a smartphone. The figure jumps to 90% for 18-24 year olds.
For the first time smartphone ownership outstrips laptop penetration, whilst fitness bands and smart watches were still way behind at nine and four percent.
Smartphone penetration was up seven per cent in the year to June 2016, compared to nine per cent in 2015. This is contrast to an increase of 13% in 2014 and 19% in 2013. Significantly of the 12% of adults that own a feature phone, only a fifth told Deloitte that they intend to trade up to a smartphone in the next 12 months.
Paul Lee, head of technology, media and telecommunications research at Deloitte, said: ‘It is clear from our research that we are reaching an age of ‘peak smartphone’. Given the market saturation, in the next 12 months, we expect smartphone penetration to rise modestly, perhaps by no more than two or four percentage points.’
‘However, smartphones will not suffer the same fate as tablets. The replacement market is likely to remain healthy, and given the sizeable base of existing owners, smartphone sales are likely to remain in the tens of millions for the foreseeable future.’
Whilst mobile manufactures may have been dismayed by Deloitte’s findings operators would be encouraged by the report. The research showed that 4G adoption increase to 54% of all smartphone owners, up from 25% in 2015. The consultants said that this now meant that 4G was now the dominant mobile network, and was likely to grow even more over the next year.
Ed Marsden, lead telecoms partner at Deloitte, said: ‘Whether sharing photos, ordering at a restaurant or streaming the latest box-set, consumers are using their smartphones as a tool for almost every facet of their life. This is why we have seen such a surge in 4G subscribers: there has never been a greater need for fast, uninterrupted connectivity. The speed of mobile networks means that consumers’ reliance on WiFi will reduce until fixed-line network speeds improve significantly.
‘High 4G adoption is good news for both mobile carriers and network operators. Faster connectivity should encourage greater data consumption; the telecommunications industry needs to make it as easy as possible for smartphone owners to access data.’