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Nielsen: Smartphones now tops among new buyers

Fifty-five percent of cell phone buyers chose a smartphone in the three months ending in May, compared with 34 percent for the same period a year ago.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney


Smartphone demand continues to surge as more than half of all recent cell phone buyers opted for one, Nielsen said today.

Specifically, 55 percent of consumers who bought a new mobile phone from March through May picked a smartphone over a non-smartphone, according to a survey from the market researcher. That compares with 34 percent in the same period a year ago.

Non-smartphones--or what Nielsen refers to as feature phones--still hold the upper hand, though. Looking at all existing mobile users polled, 62 percent own one of them, while 38 percent own a smartphone.

Among smartphone operating systems, Android continues to be the most popular: 38 percent of all smartphone owners have an Android handset. That compares with Apple's iPhone iOS, which holds 27 percent share.

Google's Android is also tops among consumers who recently bought a new smartphone.

However, Android's growth has flattened this year among new buyers, has been hovering at 27 percent for the past several months. In contrast, Apple's iOS has shown the strongest growth over the past few months among new buyers, rising to 17 percent for the May quarter from 10 percent the previous quarter.