Apple and Samsung once again top the ranks of smartphone sales, ending Q4 of 2013 with increased numbers from the previous year. Overall, Apple lifted themselves up by 7% from 2012, grabbing 42% of all US smartphone share in Q4 of 2013. Samsung had increased numbers as well, and grew their users by 4% from 2012, grabbing 26% of all US smartphone share in Q4 of 2013. While these numbers aren't leaps and bounds over their previous year, increases are increases, and that's more than can be said for other manufacturers.
A report from The NPD Group shows the most recent figures from the fourth quarter of last year, and while Apple and Samsung had gained users of their popular handsets, those users had to come from somewhere, and it seems that they came from Motorola, HTC, and Blackberry. NPD notes that six out of ten cell phone users in the US owned a smartphone by the end of Q4 in 2013, making up 56% of all cell phone users in the US. That's an overall lift from 52% in 2012. As smartphones offer us more and more tools to enhance our daily lives, more and more people are realizing the benefits that they can offer.
Smartphone ownership wasn't the only thing that increased over the last year though. With increased number of smartphone users came an increased amount of data usage, with more people taking advantage of the web connected apps and features that their devices offer them. In Q4 of 2012, smartphone users were racking up 5.5GB of data usage each month, while in Q4 of 2013 smartphone users had increased that amount to about 6.6GB each month. While lots of things on the smartphones of today offer web connected features, one of the biggest factors in the data usage increase can attributed to streaming music, with 52% of smartphone owners in Q4 of last year using a music app to stream their favorite tunes, as opposed to storing their own music locally on the device. By those numbers, it would seem that music streaming could be one of the highest data consumption features we use. It certainly is for me personally. How do you access music on your device? Do you store the music locally, or do you stream using apps like Play Music All Access or Pandora? Or do you even use your device for music?