The smartphone was once the exclusive device of the elite businessman, CEO, or politician. But 2007, Apple introduced the iPhone—and everything changed.
Over the next 12 months, other mobile phone manufacturers began releasing products to compete with it. Since then, the smartphone has become an affordable mainstream consumer product.
While there’s no clear definition of what’s considered mainstream, a generally accepted rule-of-thumb is that when a technology has been adopted by 50 percent of the population, it’s become mainstream. The smartphone crossed that threshold in March of 2012.
And it took only four years to do so.
The Pace of Technology Adoption is Speeding Up
It took the telephone 71 years to reach 50 percent of US households. For radio, it took 28 years; the Internet, just 10.
As you can see, each consecutive technology is adopted more quickly than the last. Which means, to survive and thrive in today’s digital economy, businesses must be faster to respond to changes in consumer behavior.
(Lack of) Speed Kills
In 1907, the typical business owner had 50 years to decide whether he needed one of these new-fangled devices installed in his shop. Although the telephone had already been around for 30 years, mainstream adoption was happening very slowly.
But in 2007, the average business owner only had 50 months to think about how to be found by smartphone users. And most still haven’t figured it out yet.