The US saw smartphone penetration surge by 10 percentage points in the space of 12 months, reaching 55 per cent by the end of the first quarter of 2014, according to Kantar WorldPanel Comtech.
The analyst firm also found that smartphones accounted for 74 per cent of the country’s mobile phone sales in Q1 2014, compared with 65 per cent a year earlier.
One of the factors in driving smartphone uptake in the US may well have been falling prices.
Kantar found that between the first quarters of 2013 and 2014, average spending on smartphones on contract dropped to $93 from $119, while pre-pay spend dropped from $187 to $148.
Not all non-smartphone users said they would upgrade to the more sophisticated devices within the next 12 months. Around 19 per cent said they definitely wouldn’t, while 44 per cent said they were not sure.
The main reasons for indecision was the cost of new devices and data plans, while people who said they wouldn’t move to a smartphone cited a lack of interest or basic need.
However, as US operators continue to experiment with new payment plans, such as enabling consumers to use their own devices and pay in instalments, the costs associated with smartphones are becoming more transparent, according to Kantar.
In addition, the increased range of mid-range and low-end smartphones coming onto the market should help attract undecided consumers, fuelling growth for more basic devices.
Android secured 57.6 per cent of US smartphone sales for the first quarter, up 8.3 percentage points from a year earlier. Kantar put this down to the presence of the OS on the widest range of devices and price points.