Report: Smartphone sales up, prices down and Apple leads

smartphones via geek 4 shareRemember when smartphones cost too much for the average consumer to dream about buying, much less maintaining? The devices are currently becoming the norm in the U.S. according to a report released by the NPD group. Smartphone handsets sales are climbing as the average price has dropped below $200.

On Monday, the well-known market research company pointed out that, within a year, smartphone sales had taken 59 percent of all U.S. handset sales. That number is a 13 percent increase from the same quarter in 2010.

The leader in this handset takeover is Apple, which may be no surprise. The first and second best-selling mobile handsets in Q3 were the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS respectively. The study doesn’t even take into account the company’s newly launched iPhone 4S, and the leaderboard may be tilted towards Apple by the end of Q4. The iPhones are followed by the two Android powered HTC EVO 4G and the Motorola Droid 3, with the Samsung Intensity II pulling up the rear.

Interestingly, as sales have increased, the average selling prices for these devices has been on the decline for four consecutive quarters. Now, on average consumers are paying $135 for their devices. This statistic isn’t hard to envision, as the 8 GB iPhone 4 is down to $99 with contract and the 3GS, launched back in 2009, is being handed over for free with contract.

Consumers don’t even want cheap phones according to the study. Although we in the U.S. on average want to shell out $250 for new phones, when it comes to actually buying, 64 percent end up buying a phone for less than $200.

Those lovely dollars we’re saving need to be spent though, as Ross Rubin, executive director for industry analysis at NPD says, “even as smartphone prices continue to decline, the accessory attachment rates for smartphones in Q3 was unchanged since last year. This indicates further opportunity for retailers to improve revenue numbers by focusing marketing efforts on selling more accessories.”