NPD data on U.S. smartphone ownership by platform

NPD recently released some interesting data regarding U.S. smartphone sales in the last quarter. While iPhones dominated as the top choices by model, with the Samsung Galaxy S II and Galaxy S 4G taking up number 4 and 5 spots, there was a clear trend of Android phones being more popular among first-time buyers than Apple's smartphones. 57% of shoppers surveyed by NDP that were picking up their first smartphone went with Android, while that number dropped to 48% for the whole sample group. Android and iOS together command over 90% of the U.S. smartphone market, leaving little room for third place, be it BlackBerry, Windows Phone, or otherwise. 

Beyond platforms, NPD found that the smartphone market overall had increased 18% since last year, commanding 68% of the total U.S. mobile market. They've also found that the average selling price for smartphones is $143, which is an $8 drop from last year. 

It's interesting to see Android claiming so much favor among the noobies, especially when pitted against the supposed king of simplicity and intuitive user interface. Android certainly has the advantage of selection, and may just be flooding first time-buyer's field of view from any alternatives. Personally, I've tended to suggest Android the tech-savvy first and foremost, but what about you guys? Do you consider Android friendly to first-timers?

Source: NPD


Reader comments

Study says first-time smartphone buyers favor Android


I couldn't find much more information about the statistics, but does this also mean that 9% of new users try Android then switch to Apple?

I am wondering the same thing. Because a lot of people I know bought an Android at the time because there was no iPhone in their network. Now there is.

I love the Android, don't get me wrong. I tried my best to convince my GF to stick with an android, but for a lot of users that want simplicity (and there are a lot more of them then there are us), they have converted to the iOS in my group of friends.

Keep in mind that my experience obviously isn't the majority. But I am also just curious about the statistics. I know Windows Phones aren't much of a stock stealer... >_>

It just means that more people buying their 2nd, 3rd, whatever smartphone are more likely to go with Apple. That makes sense; people buying ANOTHER smartphone have probably had one for a couple years, and iPhone had much more market share than Android two years ago. And, of course, switching smartphone platforms is expensive and inconvenient (only partly by design), so iOS early adopters tend to stick with iOS.

No, it does not necessarily mean that.

Reading through the study, they basically grouped a large sample of people into two groups: first time buyers and then everybody else.

So, they did not track the first time buyers as they bought their 2nd phone. The are no real conclusions that can be drawn from this. It's very possible that the "everybody else" group were second-time buyers but owned an Apple device upon their first purchase.

But, of course, the fanboys will likely spin this data to say "See! They buy Android first and then they switch!" Even though that's not true.

Its kinda sad what goes on sometimes. I visited a verizon store recently to check out gnex. Kid is at the register with a Droid razr. Mom tells him, "I think you should get the iPhone... wouldn't you rather have the iphone?" Sigh...

I was in an Attt store and I saw a 10yr old do the most amazing thing.
His mom was upgrading them to smart phones and was hell bent on getting them iPhones. The child was crying because his dad had already bought his sister an Android phone and his mom couldn't figure out how to work it. So naturally mom wants his phone to be something that she can work.

So in the end he got an iPhone even though he was kicking and screaming.

The amazing part is after mom paid for the phones he got quiet and a white iPhone without a case or insurance flew from the back of the store into the window in the front.
The boy and his sister stood looking at the mom and said the lady "IN" the phone said it can fly.

True story.

haha I went into the Verizon store with my mom. She never goes without me...she knows I know my stuff. She picked the Rezound. I told her, "I think you should get the Nexus. Wouldn't you rather have a Nexus?". Haha she said, "If you give me the $100 difference.". My response, "The Rezound will fit your needs just fine.".

Sure, I know a lot of people that bought Android phones as their first smartphone purchase.

Then this happens:
After a few weeks pass, almost all of them hate their phones with a passion. They complain about the horrible build quality, battery life, and the complexity that Android is for the joe-consumer. Guess what they do when their contract expires or an opportunity comes up to upgrade their phone? They get an iPhone and they don't look back.

Android only appeals to those that feel the need to root their phone for some twisted-sense of having absolute control of their device. Everyone else is more than happy to "delegate" that control so they don't have to worry about having some Android-guru on-hand to figure out why their phone doesn't work.

So after all the dozens of people I know personally that made Android their first phone, all but maybe two people went to an iPhone and were happier in the end.

So just keep spinning your stories... at the minimum, it makes for funny reading. :)

Those who hack phones care less much about which phone they get, since at that point jailbreaken iPhone can do the similar stuff as Android.

Lol. Had an iPod classic 80GB in early 2008. Know what hated it. One iTunes update lost everything. Good ol' Apple couldnt help me. I had most of my stuff backed up but not everything. Just got done buying $100 worth of music and videos, and lost it. Plus, import videos to iTunes showsbthat it synced and guess what, wouldnt play on iPod. Threw that pos on the garbage. Had Android since '08 and havent looked back.

My observation has been that Android "newbies" that complain about their phone's features (or lack thereof) often have purchased low-end phones because they're cheap and the person didn't want to make a large investment for what had previously always been a relatively cheap purchase (i.e feature/dumb phones).

That being said, those same people take one look at my EVO 3D and say "Wow! That's a 'Droid'? I should have gotten THAT phone!"

For people that get a bad first experience, it makes sense that they might switch away from a platform. I hate cheap, poorly-configured, Android devices. They make the whole platform look bad to those who don't know any better. Those that purchased high-end devices have a completely different opinion. Most of my friends with relatively high-end Android phones love them. Most of them (myself included) haven't bothered with rooting or custom ROMs. There's little need to on a high-end phone unless you have a specific carrier-blocked feature you want to use for free.

My point is, Android may have started out as a "geeks-only" platform, but it has been mainstream for a while now, and can appeal to anyone (if they don't go with a poor device).

Uh-huh. That's funny, there's nothing hard about my non-rooted EVO 3D. Even my parents have Android figured out. Please explain to me what is so incredibly complicated about it that I obviously must be a genius to actually use it on a daily basis.

Talk about spinning stories...I do find it amusing when people basically tell us everybody they know is an idiot. Guess maybe I just hang with a different class of people.

The way I see it is the iPhone UI is so simple it's almost boring to use. I would like to see the same poll after Android 4.0 is on most of the devices because the refinements to ICS UI make it simpler and more pleasurable to use. I came from webOS to Android so there was a learning curve because webOS was so easy to use but atleast in 2.2 and 2.3 the user interface wasn't as boring as the iPhone's. Every time I use an iPhone I end up putting it down in five minutes because im stick of using that stupid button to do everything. Besides rooting and customizing I think people are also attracted to the loads of free apps for Android compared to IOS

It's matter of preference, i like more iOS UI better due to integrity, once you learn it you know how to use eveything, you find things where you expect them to be and apps are more predictable, you don't need to figure things up each app you download. I find Android UI more cheotic, specially where i find in my Galaxy S2 some stack apps that follows google glides of ICS (in Gingerbread which is even more interesting) and some that don't follow them at all and im not talking here about Samsung apps, Google apps have same problem, just compere market to gmail for example. So i like where ICS is going and hopefully app developers will follow

I find this kind of hard to believe. Almost everyone I know, even clients included, all talk about getting the iPhone, rarely people talk about getting an Android. I am currently using an iPhone, hate it, waiting for my maxx to come in but VZW is lagging it on the processing, but most clients ask how I like it and always conclude with that they plan on getting one. When I had my android, they could careless. Like with most, its the name that people want since its "Apple" and an "iPhone."

The only way I can see this holding true is because Android has so many low end phones that can be had for nothing but I still think the mass majority of people want an iphone.

When I came to Android from Blackberry, I would have probably gotten an iPhone, if it had been available. Now that it is, i'll still stay with Android, simply because it's what i'm used to.

My wife, brother, even my dad use an iPhone now.

For me this study is BS. If and when new Sp users walk into any carrier store tall they are greeted with are android devices than what do you expect them to choose. I mean when you walk into an att store half of their devices are android, 1 apple device, 4 BB's, 3 Wp devices that's it. When you are looking for the cheapest device and your choice is one bb, one WP and 7 android what are you going to buy. Not bitter about this this but as a person that works in this environment everyday I can tell you first had its not hard getting someone in an android device when they are on a budget and all they want is an touch screen phone.

It's not just the prices, it's the options and the features. There is one iPhone, white or black. There are several quality Android phones in the same price range.

Besides, with Apple's business model, it was only a matter of time before they were surpassed again.

I can tell you my parents are both brand new smartphone users and they went Android. They are tech illiterate so I even suggested to at least look at Apple even though I warned them I have no love for their products. They looked away from Apple quickly once they saw how small the screen was. They wanted a big screen and went with the Infuse while I went to the Galaxy S2. For their usage they felt the extra $100 wasn't worth dual core and the like. Plus it's a 4.5" vs my 4.3".

The plus for me was a free MHL cable since it came bundled on the Infuse and not the S2. :P

Plenty of apple users held off buying a replacement until the 4s came out.

My parents both like android over iPhone, and they are not at all hackers. The big screen on aged eyes make a big difference.