Will the U.S. Smartphone Market Surpass the UK?

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Call it the American Paradox. Americans are often the innovators, but not usually the early adopters when it comes to smartphone use. We are pretty slow when it comes to the speed at which we’ve adopted the technology compared to our ally across the pond, but we’re catching up to the United Kingdom now, according to research from eMarketer.

EMarketer’s research found that smartphone adoption is growing at a rate that the United States will catch up to United Kingdom’s rates of smartphone adoption by 2014. This is beneficial as the European country is one of the most advanced mobile markets in the world, according the electronic marketing research firm. In its report eMarketer says that the latter will continue to lead through 2018, but that growth in the American smartphone market will help narrow the gap.

“The UK will continue to lead by both of these metrics — but only slightly — throughout our forecast period, thanks to robust growth in the U.S. smartphone market.”

The United States and the United Kingdom are commonly compared in various studies relating to economic, health, and social issues, setting up a natural comparison point for this research. Despite the fact smartphones caught on faster in the United Kingdom, some similarities in smartphone ownership and usage exist.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Android phones dominate both markets. EMarketer estimates that Android’s market share will grow to 50 percent this year. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is in second place, although its lead over BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) and Windows phones is narrower in the United Kingdom. Another key difference is that the majority of British smartphone users are men. Here, women are more likely to use and to own smartphones.

The fact that Android phones make up the majority of smartphones is not surprising. Samsung, the world’s leading maker of smartphones, makes up about 30 percent or nearly a third of the smartphone market. Apple, the sole maker of the iPhone and iOS software is in second place with about 13 percent. In third place is LG with approximately 5 percent of the market. Both Samsung and LG smartphones use the Android operating system. (A complete list of complies that use the Android operating system is available online.)

The fact that smartphone use is growing in the United States is not surprising. Recent survey data from The Pew Research Foundation showed that 58 percent of Americans in its sample. About 90 percent of the same sample had a cell phone, showing that about one in 10 Americans are still holding out on getting a smartphone. Pew Data from about a year earlier showed that smartphone ownership was at 45 percent and overall cell phone ownership was at 87 percent. That data conflicted with eMarketer’s research in that men were slightly more likely to own a smartphone than women.

Despite the differences in exact numbers, one trend is clear. Americans are adopting smartphones. The rates may be even starting to catch up with rates in the United Kingdom.

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