Horace Dediu: iPhone US Market Share to Reach 68% by 2017

The last 12 months’ comScore data reveals that Apple has slowly but steadily gained market share in the US: from 36.3% recorded last December, it currently stands at 40.6% of the 149.2 million Americans who own a smartphone. But how many Americans will own an iPhone in 4 years from now when the US smartphone market saturates? Horace Dediu has an interesting theory.

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Putting together Apple’s available performance numbers since the smartphone revolution, Horace Dediu of Asymco suggests that at 90% of mobile market penetration (an approximate saturation), about 68% of smartphone users will own an iPhone. (Champagne time for WSJ analysts?)

So how did he arrive at this number? Taking a closer look to the US smartphone market and the iPhone, he found that the latter follows the same pattern as the market. The explanation seems to be that “consumers are absorbing the product in a similar way that they are absorbing the technology”, he says.

So as a result, the iPhone’s growth can be projected by taking into account the iPhone’s market share from where it is now and the expected market penetration of smartphones.

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.

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

The result: if the addressable US smartphone market stands at 266 million (US population aged above 13), then 180 million of them will own an iPhone by 2017.