Smartphones will reach saturation point in the U.S. by 2017, and by that time two-thirds of all Americans will own an iPhone – the conclusions Asymco’s Horace Dediu reaches through a series of calculations.

Dediu bases his calculation on three factors. First, that the rate of growth seen in the smartphone market so far will continue at the same pace. Second, saturation point for smartphones will be 90 percent (no technology ever achieves 100 percent). Third, that Apple’s market share will remain roughly constant, Dediu pointing out that iPhone growth has pretty much exactly mirrored the smartphone market as a whole … 

Or, in rather more detailed terms:

One can simply draw a line extending the existing red segment above and read the F/(1-F) figure at any point in time. Solving for F results in a measure of penetration and hence number of users (if population is known.)

An alternative is to use the following formula derived from the linear interpolation of the two measured market shares. iPhone market share is y/(1+y) where y=0.21x and x = F/(1-F) and F is the expected market penetration of smartphones.

So if F = 91%, x = 10, y = 2.11 and therefore the iPhone market share =  68%.

We also know from the plot of the market that F = .91 is reached around February 2017. So we can suggest that at 90% penetration (approximately saturation) the iPhone will have 68% market share of users in the US. Forecasting the addressable market (US population aged older than 13) at about 266 million that implies 180 million US users of the iPhone by early 2017.

Of course, four years is a very long time in the tech industry, and both Nokia and Blackberry prove that past success is no guarantee of future prospects, but it’s certainly a forecast that will put a smile on some faces at 1 Infinite Loop.

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10 Responses to “Two-thirds of Americans will own an iPhone by 2017, calculates analyst”

  1. Too good to be true. In the chart one can see that iPhone is actually slowing down after the first quarter of 2013. I bet it will be slowing down even more later.


  2. Laughing_Boy48 says:

    Dediu loves his charts and numbers so much he doesn’t bother to notice that one of the laws of human nature tells consumers to buy more cheap Android smartphones. That’s why Android has 80% of the smartphone industry. Give something away for almost next-to-nothing and consumers will beat a path to your door. Even though BlackBerry and Nokia showed that high market share doesn’t mean lasting success, Wall Street is totally hung up on Android as being some sort of super-OS that can’t possibly fail which in turn makes them believe iOS is fated to oblivion. Without Samsung propping up Android, it could lose steam very quickly if Samsung switches to Tizen OS. Wall Street must not realize how large a percentage of Android smartphones and tablets are sold by Samsung. Only time will tell and 2017 is too far out to make any accurate predictions.


  3. tigerpork says:

    I believe this article. The iphone 6 will change everything!


  4. ronie678 says:

    Reblogged this on Ronak's Apple iNews.


  5. Might be believable if the US economy had a hope in Hell in 3 years from now. 2 thirds of Americans will be lucky to put food on the table let alone afford iPhones.
    On another note by that time China and India will be around 60-70% smart phone saturation bringing android market share even higher.