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Mobile surpasses tipping point and then some


Mobile has been dominating digital conversation for several years now which is why new research regarding smart phones from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) was suprising.

The trade group’s annual Household CE Ownership and Market Potential Study showed that for the first time ownership of smartphones surpassed ownership of basic cell phones as the trend toward a connect lifestyle accelerated. Two-thirds of U.S. households now own smartphones compared to 51% of households who own basic cell phones. The fact that the spread isn’t wider is somewhat surprising given the tremendous growth of Apple and Samsung products in recent years.

The spread between smartphones and basic cell phones is expected to widen further this year, especially as prices for smartphones have declined and Apple is expected to invigorate its fan base later this year with an iPhone 6 product said to have a long awaited larger screen. According to CEA’s research, the top CE products U.S. households plan to purchase this year are smartphones (27%) and over- or on-the-ear headphones (27%). Other top planned purchases include televisions (20%); laptop, notebook or netbook computers (18%); and tablets (16%).

“Building on consecutive years of strong, mobile device adoption, consumers continue to embrace a connected lifestyle in the home and on the go,” said Kevin Tillmann, senior research analyst, market research at CEA. “Consumers are now turning to many of the emerging connected products entering the market today, such as smart watches, connected fitness devices and smart thermostats.”

With large installed bases of mobile and connected devices, households are now beginning to reveal some interest in new tech products, according to CEA. For example, smart watch ownership is currently under 2%, but expected to more than triple by 2015. Similarly, 8% of households expect to own a fitness activity tracker by next year, up from 5% in 2014. Also, ownership of smart thermostats is expected to grow from 3% of households to 5% of households by next year.

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