Smartphones 23% of Sales, Says NPD Group

Thumbnail image for npdLogo.gifAccording to The NPD Group, market research,
consumer sales of smartphones to U.S. consumers represented 23 percent
of all handset sales in the fourth quarter (Q4) 2008 compared to just
12 percent in Q4 2007.

Led by the release of Apple's iPhone 3G at $199,
the average price for a smartphone fell 23 percent from $216 in Q4 2007
to $167 last year.

While half of smartphones on the market now sold with touchscreens,
70 percent of all models instead offer QWERTY keyboards.  T-Mobile's
Android debuted and Palm's webOS will debut handsets that support both
QWERTY and capacitive touch.

As the AT&T 3G network construction continues, and T-Mobile's
begins, high-speed data is becoming more central to smartphones. In
fact, two-thirds (66 percent) of smartphones now use 3G networks,
compared to just 46 percent a year ago.

With prices continuing to fall, manufacturers and retailers are
looking for ways to bolster sales revenues. One option is to sell
accessories, since they can help drive margins for smartphone
retailers. In fact, more than half (52 percent) of smartphone buyers
purchased an accessory at the time of their phone purchases, compared
to just 41 percent among all other phone buyers.

"AT&T and the iPhone began the trend of the signature
touch-screen smartphone. The arrival of the BlackBerry Storm on Verizon
Wireless, the T-Mobile G1, and imminently the Palm Pre from Sprint
completes the new competitive dynamic," said Ross Rubin, director of
industry analysis, The NPD Group.

"Palm, Apple, and HTC all over-index when it comes to accessory
purchases at the time of the smartphone purchase," said Rubin.
"Particularly with RIM's large market share, resellers are apparently
missing opportunities to sell more BlackBerry accessories."

Methodology: The NPD Group compiles and analyzes mobile device
sales data based on more than 150,000 completed online consumer
research surveys each month. Surveys are based on a nationally balanced
and demographically-representative sample, and results are projected to
represent the entire population of U.S. consumers. Note: Sales figures
do not include corporate/enterprise mobile phone sales.