Tuesday, December 4, 2012

comScore U.S. mobile market share report shows reinforces bad news for weaker platforms

The newest comScore mobile market share report, released late last week, shows continued growth by the dominate platforms of Google's Android and Apple's iOS. But like ad page data, one sometimes sees things far too close up. A 5 percent change in a category, for instance, doesn't see like such a big deal unless one sees the historic data, as well.

The headline news from the report is that Apple has climbed over other cellphone makers to become the number two OEM in the U.S. with 17.8 percent of the market for the iPhone. To do this LG had to fall from 18.4 percent to 17.6 percent. Overall, however, there still appear to be room for more than just a couple of brands when it comes to hardware. Platforms are another story, however.
While the latest report compares platform market share data from October 2012 against that of July 2012, I thought adding in information from 2011 would be more enlightening.

As you can see, the big moves occurred over the past year and this report is merely reinforcing the trends. As spring turned to summer last year Research In Motion (RIM) still had almost a quarter of the smartphone platform business. It was also still a Top Five OEM.

Today RIM's market share has fallen to 7.8 percent, and things are still not popping for Microsoft, though that may change if Windows 8 can catch hold.

The comScore report also tracks what owners of smartphones are doing with their devices. The answer is simply "more", using their smartphones for far more than simply making calls. While texting continues to be the number one activity, using the smartphone's browser has grown in popularity, from less than 40 percent of users in May of 2011 to 52.7 percent today. But all categories of usage, from apps and games to music and social networks and blogs are growing as owners see their devices less as a cell phone and more as a computing and communications device.