Smartphones enjoyed surging sales in 2009, even as the overall mobile phone market was mired in a global slump. A new survey of smartphone users by PC World and Macworld provides more qualitative insight into the popularity of high-end devices.
Among the findings, 85% of smartphone owners said they were extremely or very satisfied with their handsets, and the same percentage said they rely heavily on them. (iPhone owners reported the highest satisfaction levels.) On a typical day, people use their phones two-thirds of the time for personal use and the balance for business.
This highlights the shift of smartphones from being primarily the province of corporate users to gaining a wider consumer customer base, courtesy of the iPhone. Facebook, Google and music service Pandora were cited as smartphone users' favorite brands, further underscoring how usage leans toward the personal rather than the professional.
The findings also concurred with those of a recent Strategy Analytics survey in which Google and Facebook were rated as the top mobile brands.
Nearly half of smartphone owners download mobile apps frequently -- and over the last 30 days they procured, on average, 5 free apps and two paid ones.
When buying a phone, personal experience was cited as the most important source of information by 86%, followed by other factors including online reviews from shopping/news sites (66%), friends and family (63%) and magazine reviews (56%).
The three most important phone criteria were call quality, network availability and connection speed.
The study was based on an online survey of the PC World and Macworld audience conducted between Sept. 30 and Oct. 9, with a total of 1,285 current or future smartphone users completing the questionnaire.