Is the U.S. Nearing a Smartphone Saturation Point?

CNN Fortune notes that Android’s amazing rise in marketshare over the past year have come to the point where it will not widen its lead over Apple’s iOS (iPhone and iPad).

Nielsen: Android’s lead over iOS may have stopped growing

He notes that Apple’s and RIM’s marketshare have both remained more-or-less steady in recent months based on Nielsen Wire data.

Android Leads in U.S. Smartphone Market Share and Data Usage

This shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to those who have been following overall smartphone sales and marketshares. Nielsen notes that 37% of all U.S. mobile consumers have a smartphone now. In the third-quarter of 2010, smartphones accounted for 46$ of all U.S. phone sales. This was a huge jump from the 28% marketshare smartphones had in the third quarter of 2009. My commentary back in November 2010 based on these figures was: If smartphone market share continues to increase with this kind of big jumps, we will soon be at a point of saturation with nearly everyone in the U.S. owning a smartphone of some kind. Smartphone market share growth, as a whole, is now coming from people switching from feature phones to smartphones. But, once saturation is reached, it will become a zero sum game among smartphone platforms and we’ll see another retrenching in the platform market probably dropping to three main platforms.

Smartphone Market Share Statistics: Market Saturation on its Way

I suspect that the Nielsen results indicate we are starting to reach a saturation point and that new smartphone purchases will be mostly replacement purchases.