Smartphone Sales Surge, Top PCs For The First Time
Several factors are contributing to the surge that has put smartphones on top of PC sales, which we already know are slower than expected. For one, many consumers only purchased their first smartphone this year and some still have not made the jump, so the smartphone market still has plenty of room to grow. The upgrade cycle for such devices is also much shorter than that of computers. While a user may buy a new phone every one or two years, it's not uncommon for a person to use the same laptop for four or five years before upgrading. Lastly, there is the matter of price. Smartphone costs dropped precipitously in 2010, with many Android devices coming in at $100 or less, and the iPhone 3GS selling for $99 after the debut of the iPhone 4. A new MacBook (which starts at $999) is a significant investment that requires thought, while $100 for a smartphone is approaching the levels of an impulse purchase. We don't expect smartphone sales to increase another 87-percent in 2011, but we wholly expect sales of smartphones to continue outpacing those of PCs, especially as tablets gain more of a foothold in the market.