NPD: Nearly a third of all smartphone sales in the US are prepaid

By on May 15, 2013, 5:04 PM

New data from market researcher NPD shows sales of prepaid smartphones are increasing at a rapid pace. Smartphone sales overall shot up 42 percent in the first quarter compared to the same time last year with 36 percent of the unit volume increase represented by prepaid smartphone sales.

Broken down further, NPD found that year-over-year prepaid smartphone sales doubled in the first quarter. Postpaid smartphone sales grew 23 percent between the first quarter in 2012 and the Q1 2013. Vice president of industry analysis at NPD Stephen Baker said consumers focused their attention away from smartphone wars during the quarter and toward finding the best value for their dollar.

True enough, there weren’t any major product launches for either side of the market in the first quarter. And of course, it helps that consumers are now able to purchase quality smartphones as part of a prepaid plan. As Baker points out, the Galaxy S2 and the iPhone 4S are two of the top five prepaid smartphones this year. Keep in mind, however, that these two models were among the top selling phones overall just a year ago.

Samsung claimed 32 percent of the top five prepaid smartphone sales during the first quarter. LG came in second with 22 percent of sales while Huawei claimed 11 percent. HTC and Apple round out the top five with eight percent of sales each according to NPD’s Mobile Phone Track 2013.

Moving forward, NPD expects companies like AT&T to ramp up their focus on prepaid as evident by the recent announcement of their Aio branding initiative.

User Comments: 10

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JC713 JC713 said:

Wow.That is very impressive.

1 person liked this | HiDDeNMisT HiDDeNMisT said:

The thing is that the post-paid is way to expensive. I use Simple Mobile with my SGS3 unlocked AT&T phone.

1 person liked this | veLa veLa said:

You can get decent 3G/4G prepaid phones these days. They usually use Sprint though, which means mediocre coverage. Still I think they're better value if you ask me.

Mallok Mallok said:

You can get decent 3G/4G prepaid phones these days. They usually use Sprint though, which means mediocre coverage. Still I think they're better value if you ask me.

With the amount of wireless available to me, it just doesn't make sense to pay for data. So as long as the voice, and to a much lesser extent messaging, works on Sprint I'm happy. I spent the last year or so researching wireless plans and found one that blows the rest away (but it is on Sprint). I'll probably be under 100MB 3G every month. I can't see the whole contract thing lasting much longer unless people don't bother to do a little research. Tmo is already lowering the entry point, but it's still too much for me.

soldier1969 soldier1969 said:

Most prepaid phones are 3G or barely 4G with no LTE and too small. So thats not acceptable to me. Still on AT&T with my Note 2 and 4G LTE with 30mbs speeds unlimited data still and happy with it.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

In my country (South Africa) 80% of phones are pre-paid.

Guest said:

My family has been using prepaid phones for years (Virgin Mobil) and they work out quite well for us. Coverage has been very good, the rates are reasonable and of course no contract.

1 person liked this | tw0rld tw0rld said:

Just switched over to tmobile's new unlimited everything plan paying $80 for 2 lines with no contract.

psycros psycros said:

The US is slowly catching up with the rest of the world in this regard. Now we just need to see throttling done away with or better yet outlawed - it makes "unlimited" data anything but and amounts to false advertising.

Tygerstrike said:

Actually I think the percentage is higher then that. I sell both post and prepaid at work. TBH post has fallen off recently. Mainly I think because of data pooling. Ppl want unlimited. Now a days the only way to get unlimited is to go with prepaid. Or be grandfathered in on a unlimited data plan. Or go with Sprint.....

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