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The Data Digest: Who Are These Smartphone Owners?

Reineke Reitsma
Vice President, Research Director
October 28, 2011

My colleagues Charles Golvin and Thomas Husson recently published a report that reveals The Global Mainstreaming Of Smartphones, and they found that while the majority of smartphone owners are high-income adopters, the low-income optimists (who Forrester defines as Techno-Strivers, Digital Hopefuls, and Gadget Grabbers) and high-income pessimists (who Forrester defines as Handshakers, Traditionalists, and Media Junkies) are the ones who together make up the majority of the US population. They are the potential consumers who will lead to smarthphone sales growth.

Forrester Technographics® data shows that this is not just a trend in North America; it is a global trend. Some global mobile players are already targeting these segments. For example, when Apple launches a new iPhone, instead of discontinuing the older model, it lowers its price to a lower level. Nokia, the Finnish mobile phone maker that has not really been getting much attention in the smartphone competition, recently announced two new Windows phones that will be launched in select markets next month. The lower-end phone is priced at half that of the higher-end one. Clearly, while the company wants to attract the early high-income optimists in the world with innovative technology, it similarly targets the large group of low-income optimists with the more affordable model.


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