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Over 50s join the smartphone revolution



Over 50s join the smartphone revolution

Smartphones make up a majority of new phone purchases for 50 and overs

The latest smartphone sales data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech shows Android retained its number one OS position in the latest 12 weeks*, now holding 50% share, up from 42.2% a year ago. Apple continues to make strong gains, increasing its share by 9.5% over the past year to 29.2%.

Apple also remains the largest smartphone manufacturer; however, Samsung is rapidly closing in, now just 1% behind in the latest period with 28.1% share.

Dominic Sunnebo, global consumer insight director, comments: “It is common to assume that smartphone growth is being driven by a young tech-savvy generation; however, our latest data shows that more than one in two mobiles bought by over 50s in the past 12 weeks were smartphones.”

With almost 20 million mobile owners over the age of 50 in Great Britain, there is a clear business opportunity for manufacturers and operators. Traditionally a Nokia stronghold, it is Samsung and Apple who are making the most of this market, now accounting for 36.6% and 23.4% of 50+ smartphone sales, compared with 6.2% from Nokia.

Sunnebo comments: “The keenly-priced Samsung Galaxy Ace is the top-selling handset in this group. This fits with our analysis showing that ‘cost of handset’ is the top stated reason for handset choice in the over 50s category. Given the relative price sensitivity of this consumer group, we would expect to see Asian manufacturers such as ZTE and Huawei start to make big inroads in this market during 2012.”

Smartphone use by over 50s tends to be based around ‘core’ functions, with 63% browsing the internet, 57% using email and 52% downloading apps. Social networking (34%), instant messenger (17%) and downloading/streaming videos (18%) are areas which prove less attractive to this group compared with their younger counterparts.

Sunnebo explains: “As internet connectivity becomes ever more integral to consumers lives, regardless of age, so the desire for mobile internet increases. Our data tends to show that over 50s mobile use replicates much of what they do at home on their PC or laptop. In contrast, under 50s tend to use their phones and computers for different purposes.”

In Great Britain smartphones made up 74.4% of sales over the 12 weeks, meaning that 52.2% of the British population now owns a smartphone.

* 12 w/e 18th March 2012

Get in touch

Chris Cowan
Consumer Insight Director

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