Smartphone saturation – feature phones fight back


What OS does your most recently-purchased tablet have? graph of japanese recently reported on goo Research’s sixth regular survey into mobile devices, which shows for the first time a reversal in smartphone growth.


Between the 22nd and 25th of October 2012 1,077 members of the goo Research online monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 53.0% of the sample were male, 16.3% in their teens, 17.9% in their twenties, 21.4% in their thirties, 16.3% in their forties, and 27.9% aged fifty or older.

I heard from my wife that (sorry for the inaccuracy, but it’s the best I can do!) that a TV show recently said that according to a survey, about 40% of women (in their thirties or all ages, she wasn’t quite clear) who had smartphones either kept their feature phones, wanted to get an extra feature phone, or wanted to ditch their smartphones. This survey is perhaps the first indication of this trend that What Japan Thinks has picked up. I’ll be keen to see how the next survey looks, especially that although docomo’s summer 2012 line-up did not include any feature phones, their winter 2012-2013 line-up includes four bog-standard last-gen iMode clamshells from four different Japanese manufacturers.

Research results

First, people were asked what mobile devices they had. Feature phones were top at 60.9%, notebooks and netbooks at 52.2%, smartphones at 39.1%, portable games machines at 32.5%, portable music players at 31.3%, and so on. The interesting figures to look at here are the trends in feature phone versus smartphone.

Q1: Do you have either of these devices?

  Feature phone Smartphone
1st survey, July 2011
77.9% 18.3%
2nd survey, October 2011
77.6% 21.3%
3rd survey, February 2012
72.4% 26.1%
4th survey, May 2012
68.1% 32.8%
5th survey, August 2012
58.7% 40.1%
6th survey, October 2012
60.9% 39.1%

Furthermore, 97 people, 9.0%, said they had a tablet device.

Q2: What OS do your tablets have? (Sample size=97, multiple answer)

It was presented as a pie chart in the original text, but note it is a multiple-choice answer.

iOS (iPad) 57.7%
Android 42.3%
Windows 11.3%
Web OS (HP) 2.1%
BlackBerry 1.0%
Other 0.0%
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