The British Invasion of Smartphones is Underway

2013 will be a banner year for smartphones in the U.K., principally because U.K. smartphone connections are on pace to cross the 50% threshold.

According to a new report from Portio Research highlighted by eMarketer, the U.K. has emerged as an undeniable world leader in mobile adoption. Smartphones are driving that trend.

At the end of last year, the U.K. had 83 million mobile subscribers, of which 36 million were smartphone owners.

This represents a market penetration of 130%, according to Portio, which means there isn’t much room to add new mobile subscribers. Instead development in the market is happening around the shift toward smartphones and away from feature phones. Portio expects the number of smartphones in use to increase each year, with corresponding decreases in the number of non-smartphones.

In light of these developing trends, U.K. smartphone penetration is widely expected to top 50% at some point in 2013. But the British invasion by smartphones has really just begun.

By 2016, Portio Research projects that nearly 3 in 4 mobile devices in the U.K. will be smartphones. eMarketer’s forecast is nearly spot-on, showing that UK smartphone penetration will hit 78% within the next three years.