Nielsen: Smartphones now represent 36% of U.S. market

Nielsen: Smartphones now make up 36% of U.S. market
Nielsen: Smartphones now make up 36% of U.S. market

I’m hanging out at the App Nation conference in San Francisco and Nielsen just released some interesting data from its upcoming mobile playbook. The company said that smartphones now account for 36% o the U.S. market and it will only take a few quarters before smartphones make up the majority of the market.

The biggest beneficiary (or driver) of that is Google’s Android operating system, which is setting the world on fire.

“In less than 18 months, Android has jumped from nearly 0 percent, about 5 percent, to 37% in the United States and that increase is continuing,” said Mobile Apps Playbook, CEO of Telecom Practice, Jonathan Carson.

This growth is due to multiple things including a potent evolution of the software and multiple hardware choices. Many dismissed Android’s success as being tied to other carriers just not having the Apple iPhone but now that the Verizon iPhone is out, I’d be shocked to see if Android adoption slows down. I mean, devices like the HTC Sensation are good enough to stand on its own.

The important thing for app makers is that these smartphone users are heavy mobile app users almost from the get go and Nielsen had some interesting data on these markets too. What really stood out to me is that Nielsen said that within each app category (weather, social networking, etc.), there seems to be a stand-out “champion” that far outpaces the others in the category.

For instance, the Facebook app absolutely crushes anything else in its category, as does Pandora. We haven’t really seen one of these “champions” being displaced yet.

This may be discouraging for some developers but the good news is that as the smartphone market grows, the fat middle of the market could be enough to provide sustainable businesses. The categories are also expanding too, as diet and health could be untapped areas that need new “champions.”

Nielsen will release its full mobile apps playbook later and we’ll cover it in full detail.

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