US Insights

Seeking the perfect smartphone

Carolina Milanesi

Former Chief of Research and Head of US Business, ComTech

Mobile 04.02.2015 / 09:55

Heart mobile phone

Latest ComTech data highlight role of research, carrier stores in consumers' smartphone choices

During the three months ending in February 2015, smartphones accounted for 80% of all mobile phones sold in the US, a 9.9 percentage point increase over the same period last year, according to the latest Kantar Worldpanel ComTech data.  Just over one-third of consumers - 34.4% - who bought a smartphone did so for the very first time.

Consumers still do not seem to find choosing a smartphone an easy task. In the three months ending in February, just 33% of buyers did no research at all before purchasing their device. The remaining strong majority of consumers engaged in a series of research activities from visiting a retail store (33%), to asking friends for advice (20.6%), to visiting a carrier's website (22.8%).

Key Numbers

  • 59% of smartphone sales occurred in a carrier store
  • 33% of buyers who did research visited a carrier store before buying

Buyers who visited a carrier store recall the presence of working models (35.6%) and the availability of special promotions (26.2%), as well as offers of recommendations (23.2%).

Carriers are not "just" a choice of a network for consumers-they are also the place to go when buying a smartphone: 59% of sales during this three-month stretch happened in a carrier store, with Verizon and AT&T still dominating at 22.9% and 14.6%, respectively.

These leads mirror the two carriers' leads in sales overall. Verizon captured 28.7% of all smartphone sales for the three months ending in February, while AT&T got 21.1%. T-Mobile trailed with 11.7% of sales. 

The ComTech data also show that iOS's share of operating system sales dipped slightly to 38.8% from 39.3% during the same period in 2013-2014. The iPhone 6 remained the best-selling smartphone, with buyers mentioning its screen size (45%), LTE capability (44%), and the reliability and durability of the device (43%) as the key purchase drivers. While screen size matters to iPhone 6 buyers, it is even more important for iPhone 6 Plus customers, with 70% citing screen size as their purchase driver.

Download the latest ComTech quarterly release for the three months ending February 2015 below.


Source: Kantar Worldpanel

Editor's Notes

For the quarterly ComTech smartphone and OS sales share data, explore our interactive data viz here. For inquiries, contact us. Follow us @Kantar and sign up for our alerts.

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