UK smartphone ownership reaches record high, but growth continues to slow

The UK will have 38 million smartphone owners and regular users this year, a recent eMarketer survey reveals. But while considered an all-time high, the forecasted number also represents a continuous year-on-year decline in smartphone ownership growth.

The digital and internet market research firm saw that smartphone ownership between 2014 and 2015 only rose by 9 per cent, compared to the 20.7 per cent increase between 2011 and 2012.

By 2019, eMarketer predicts that the year-on-year growth will further fall by 2.5 per cent, equating to over 85 per cent of mobile phone users that will have switched to a smartphone.

Highly contributing to the continuous decline is the fact that, today, 58 per cent of the UK population, or 70 per cent of mobile owners are now smartphone users.

On top of the decline, the UK mobile phone users also seem to have shifted from one operating system to another.

BlackBerry, which experienced its peak in the early 2000s, has fallen by 44 per cent in its usage between 2014 and 2015, with only an estimated 700,000 devices actively used in the UK.

Android smartphones, while depicted to have the largest user base globally, ranked only third on year-on-year growth in the UK, with a 9.6 per cent rise. It lagged behind iOS and Windows Phone devices, at 14 per cent and 15.9 per cent, respectively.

British Phonographic Industry CEO Geoff Taylor said that smartphone usage is partly linked to the demand for music, where a one per cent increase in the demand for music among the UK population equates to a 1.4 per cent increase in smartphone shipments.