Smartphone Market Shows Explosive Growth

comScore recently released a new report highlighting several key trends in the U.S. smartphone industry that companies considering developing mobile applications should consider.

Apple is ranked as the top smartphone manufacturer with 39% of the  market share.  Samsung follows in second place with a 23% of the market share, HTC is in third with 8.7%, Motorola follows with 7.8% and LG comes in with 6.7%.

Android continues to led as the top smartphone platform with 52% of the market share. Clearly neither of these platforms can be ignored when it comes to mobile application development.

The most interesting point from the new comScore report is the growth of the U.S. smartphone market itself. 141 million people in the U.S. alone now own smartphones (59% of the market, as of the end of May 2013). This number is up 6% since February 2013 making for some incredible growth numbers.

Mobile Devices Crucial to Consumers

mobile app

If you aren’t sure whether your business needs to enter the mobile space with a custom designed mobile application or mobile web site, please take a moment to consider just how important mobile devices are to consumers at this point in time. In studies some participants are responding that they would go without water rather than lose their smart phone and many claim to take take their smartphone everywhere they go, including the bathroom.

Astounding new numbers from a study done by Apigee show that a staggering number  that 85 percent of mobile consumers would rather go without water than their smart phone. Digging into the numbers deeper we see that it’s the mobile application function and mobile application market that is the most indispensable to consumers. Mobile apps are becoming a deeply entrenched part of consumers lives around the world as we see that in France about 20% of the population order dinner with apps only and 23% of consumers in Spain utilize apps only to find dates.

People’s lives and how they go about them is rapidly being tied into their smart phones and the mobile apps on their devices and we don’t see that changing in the near future. Businesses that are ignoring mobile applications and mobile web site are rapidly finding them selves on the outside looking in and businesses that aren’t developing for both of the major platforms are ignoring a big chunk of that market. A few years ago we steered clients towards building Android mobile applications as well but these days, pretty much every savvy business is building both iPhone applications and Android applications and often doing iPad applications if it works with the concept.

Additional data from SponsorPay shows that mobile consumers are utilizing their mobile devices for 117 minutes each day on average. These consumers are taking devices everywhere they go. According to their report 11% of mobile gamers, for instance, will play games on their mobile device while in the bathroom.

With a market that is this large and devoted, businesses must embrace mobile application development as soon as possible or risk being left behind as their competition takes their market share. How can you grab this market? What app can you build for your business that consumers will want to have on their smart phone and better yet use on a regular basis? These are the devices consumers carry with them and have in their hands, this is a tremendous opportunity for your business to position your self right in front of your consumer’s eyes.

Tablet Growth Presents Continuing Opportunities

While global PC shipments sounds like they grew a solid 12% year-on-year for 2012 now that Q4 numbers are rolling in,  you have to include tablets to arrive at that number.  In fact one in every six PCs shipped during Q4 was an iPad. During the Q4 of 2012, Apple secured a 20% share of global PC shipments for the quarter, thanks mostly to strong iPad sales.  Q4 numbers without tablets paint a much different picture – worldwide PC shipments without tablets were only 89.8 million units in the fourth quarter of 2012, down 6.4% from the same quarter in 2011.

Principal analyst at Gartner, Mikako Kitagawa, states that tablets have changed the device landscape by becoming  an alternative to a PC rather than a complement. And it is in this light where the opportunity for tablet application development comes in. Rather than thinking of tablets as big smartphones, approaching the device as an alternate to a laptop opens several new opportunities for application development.

If you break Apple’s numbers down you can see the impact tablets are having on the market, of the 27 million units Apple shipped, 22.9 million were iPads and 4.1 million were Macs.

Key to developing a strategy to leverage the massive growth of the tablet market is understanding the differences between tablets and other devices. Don’t just plan on your tablet app being a big smart phone app. Take advantage of additional navigational features and the extra screen size. Generally tablet apps preform poorly when that are just enlarged versions of smartphone apps and not optimized for the format. Likewise tablets have much different operating systems than desktops and laptops and its important to take advantage of those differences with your app.

If you look at the fact that tablets are replacing PCs or laptops in many situations and look at the software needs in those situations there are great opportunities for tablet app development to be had. This is different than the approach we have seen from many in the past where they simply try to build bigger versions of iPhone or Android Apps.  How can you streamline desktop software into a high-performing iPad app? or Android tablet app? There are many opportunities in this area that savvy businesspeople can take advantage of right now.