NPD Tracks Rising Adoption Rate Of Highly Featured Cellphones

By Joseph Palenchar On Feb 9 2004 - 8:00am

The percentage of phones sold to consumers with integrated cameras, polyphonic ringtones or voice recording/dialing rose rapidly in 2003, according to the latest NPD TechWorld's Cell Track survey.

The percentage of phones sold with either polyphonic ringtones or voice recording/dialing almost doubled in November 2003, compared to the year-ago period, and sales of camera phones went from almost zero to 16.3 percent of phones sold in November 2003, NPD said.

Here's what NPD found:

Camera phones: In November 2004, integrated camera phones accounted for an all-time high of 16.3 percent of all phones sold, up from the year-ago period's 0.1 percent. Sales of phones with optional camera attachments rose from 3.6 percent of phones sold in November 2002 to 4.4 percent in November 2003, but the latest percentage was down for the second consecutive month to its lowest point of the year.

All told, 20.7 percent of phones sold last November came with standard or optional camera, up from 3.7 percent in November 2002.

For integrated models, the percentage rose almost every month during the January-November 2003 period, with sales of integrated models starting at 0.6 percent in January, hitting 1.2 percent in February and March and rising to 3.2 percent in April. The percentages continued to rise in May to 6.4 percent and in June to 7.8 percent, dipped to 7.7 percent in July, and resumed growth to 10.3 percent in August, 12.1 percent in September, 14.8 percent in October and 16.3 percent in November.

During the same period, monthly sell-through fluctuated for phones that accept optional camera attachments, and in November 2003, the percentage was only marginally higher at 4.4 percent than November 2002's 3.6 percent. Monthly percentages in 2003 went like this: January 5.5, February 6.2, March 5.3, April 8.1, May 6.4, June 6.3, July 8.1, August 9.3, September 10, October 6.1 and November 4.4.

Polyphonic ringtone phones: Polyphonic playback was included in 66.1 percent of phones sold in November 2003. That was up from 35.6 percent in November 2002 but down from 2003's peak of 70 percent in September, when the percentage rose for the eighth consecutive month.

Voice recording/dialing: The percentage of phones with one or more of these voice features increased for the eighth consecutive month in November 2003 to 79.4 percent, almost double November 2002's 39.5 percent. The lowest percentage in 2003 was recorded in January, when 46.9 percent of phones were sold with a voice feature.

Push-to-talk (PTT): The percentage of handsets sold with PTT didn't grow significantly during the November-to-November period and fluctuated monthly in a range between 4 percent to 6.8 percent. November 2003's figure of 4.9 percent, in fact, marked an eight-month low. The situation could change, however, with the recent launches of PTT service by Sprint, Verizon and Alltel and the availability of a slightly greater selection of PTT handsets from the carriers. GSM carriers are also expected to join the PTT business later this year, further increasing the potential for PTT handset sales.

Although a greater percentage of phones are crammed with a growing number of features, the phones themselves are lighter than ever, NPD also found. In November 2003, 89.4 percent of phones sold weighed less than 5 ounces compared with 76.9 percent in November 2002. The percentage peaked in September 2003 when it hit an all-time high of 90.2 percent.

Techworld Cell Track Unit Share Trends
(by percent of handset sellthrough)
Polyphonic RingtonesNov-00Nov-01Nov-03
With Polyphonic Ringtones9.214.666.1
Without Polyphonic Ringtones90.885.433.9
Push To Talk
Push-To-Talk Included1.83.14.9
Push-To-Talk Not Included98.296.995.1
Voice Recording/Dialing
Voice Recording and/or Dialing15.819.279.4
No Voice Recording and/or Dialing84.280.920.6
Camera Phones
Built-In Camera0016.3
Add-On Camera00.24.4
No Camera Included10099.879.3
Less than 5 oz.33.853.689.4
5-7.9 oz.63.443.89.3
8 or more oz.
Source: The NPD Group/NPD Techworld Cell Track, ©TWICE 2004

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