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There are early signs that Apple’s market share of the U.S. smartphone market may increase as we move through the ‘Late Majority’ phase and into ‘Laggards’, suggests Asymco’s Horace Dediu.

For those who weren’t paying attention in economics classes in school, new products tend to experience an S-curve pattern to their growth. In the tech sector, Innovators are pretty much synonymous with techies.

Innovators (first 2.5%) need to be sold on the premise of novelty itself. Early adopters (next 13.5%) seek status and exclusivity. Early majority (34%) seek acceptance and Late Majority (34%) seek pragmatic productivity. Laggards (last 16%) seek safety.

If those percentages appear rather random, it’s because they are derived from the shape of the curve – the typical points at which it gets steeper or shallower.

With U.S. smartphone penetration now at 70 percent, we’re about two years into the Late Majority stage, with around two further years of growth to come. What Dediu’s analysis suggests is that iPhone growth has a steadier pattern to it than Android growth, which appears to be more closely driven by product launches and promotions. The more mature a market, the fewer product launches and promotions there are designed to drive adoption.

Why, when we are in a late stage of the market, does the iPhone do well when users are not incentivized to adopt? As we crossed 70% adoption, 1.4 million more users adopted the iPhone than Android.

Even if we look out to the last six months, iPhone added 15.5 million late majority users while Android added 14.2 million. If promotions decrease for the “late late majority” and laggards then would the iPhone do even better relative to Android?

Dediu points to the featurephone market as support for his hypothesis: at the tail-end of the curve, before smartphones took over, the most popular phone in the U.S. was the RAZR – a premium handset.

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2 Responses to “Market share of iPhone may increase as U.S. smartphone growth tails off, predicts analyst”

  1. I knew it had to be Dediu or some other Apple cheerleader saying this. Where Wall Street is concerned, normally in every given situation, Apple always loses market share to Android for a myriad of reasons although mainly cost is the determining factor. The premium priced Apple product always loses to the cheaper priced Android product especially in high market saturation situations. A more coherent ecosystem, higher-quality product, better customer service and available retail stores never gives the Apple mobile product the edge in gaining market share. There’s this theory, that being just good enough will always get the nod as long as the cost is low enough.

    I’ve never seen a scenario before where iPhone gains market share against Android smartphones, so such a thing is either impossible or extremely unlikely. Wall Street is always betting against Apple’s iPhone to gain market share against Android smartphones so the outcome must be very obvious.

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