Mobile 2010: U.S. versus Europe and UK

Faith Merino · February 14, 2011 · Short URL:

ComScore looks at the 2010 year in mobile

It’s a mobile world.  ComScore released Monday its first ever Mobile Year in Review report for 2010, and the findings point to some interesting trends in smartphone adoption in the U.S. compared to Europe and the UK.

The report looked at the mobile market from December 2009 to December 2010, and while virtually all of the countries analyzed in the report have made significant gains in smartphone adoption, some showed more pronounced eagerness to snap up the devices. 

Interestingly, Spain led all other countries in smartphone adoption in 2010, with a 38% of mobile subscribers buying smartphones, representing an increase of 10.4 percentage points.  Previously, Italy had been the leader in smartphone adoption, but in 2010 it took a backseat to Spain.

The UK saw a steep rise in the rate of smartphone adoption in 2010, reaching a 33.6% adoption rate in 2010.  This is up from 22.3% in December 2009.

By comparison, the U.S. market came in fourth with 27% of American mobile users buying smartphones in 2010, up 16.8% from 2009. Not surprisingly, the group that is leading the smartphone adoption revolution in the United States is the 13-17-year-old age demographic, which represents the fastest growing age segment in smartphone adoption.  In 2010, the smartphone market saw an 86% increase among users aged 13-17, a group that now numbers 4.3 million smartphone users (I’m going out on a limb here to posit that the iPod Touch played a leading role in this).

Another rapidly growing age segment in the U.S. smartphone market is the 55+ segment, which was up 78% in 2010 to account for 12.6% of the total smartphone market.  But the largest age segment in the U.S. smartphone market overall is the 25-34-year-old group, which accounts for 27.2% of the market.  

The European smartphone market has a much higher rate of adoption among the 55 and older age group, which represents 18.1% of the total smartphone market.  In fact, while the U.S. leads Europe in smartphone adoption among younger mobile subscribers, Europe leads the U.S. in smartphone adoption among older users (this is more pronounced in the 55+ group).  

In both the U.S. and European markets, the Android operating system is gaining the most ground.  In the U.S., RIM closed the year with 31.6% of the market, but Android was close on its heels with 28.7% of the market.  The Android OS platform also saw the most significant growth in 2010, skyrocketing from a 5% market share in December 2009 to a 28.7% market share in December 2010.

In Europe, Symbian remains the leader while Android has slowly chiseled away at its market share—though Android’s adoption in Europe has been far less dramatic than it has in the states.  In Europe, Symbian’s 63% market share in December 2009 dropped to 47.8% in December 2010, while Android’s share grew some 10 percentage points to account for 11.9% of the market. 


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