According to Gartner, the worldwide market for mobile devices with touchscreens will grow over 97% this year. Last year, consumers bought 184 million devices with touchscreens. Gartner predicts that this market will surpass 362 million units this year. By 2013, Gartner predicts, touchscreen mobile devices will account for 80% of all sales in North America and Europe. Once the domain of high-end devices, touchscreen are now finding their ways into midrange phones and a growing number of consumers now expects all of their screens to be touch-enabled.
As Gartner analyst CK Lu notes, a touchscreen alone won't be enough to convince users to buy a specific phone, however. According to Lu, "Consumers won't buy a mobile device purely for the touch UI, Touch technology is just an enabler, and ultimately, it is a compelling user experience -- which includes good UI design, applications and services -- that will make or break a product." Indeed, Gartner advised manufacturers to double down on their efforts to create good touch-driven UIs. While Gartner doesn't mention the iPhone explicitly, it is clear that Apple's popular phone has set the standard for touch-driven UIs and most manufacturers are still struggling to catch up.
Bonus: What Does the Mobile, Touch-Friendly Web Look Like Today?
The mobile web, according to a new report from mobile search engine Taptu, is currently all about shopping and services. Taptu - which specializes in indexing mobile sites - surveyed about 326,000 sites that are optimized for mobile, finger-friendly browsing and found that the largest concentration of these sites falls into Taptu's "shopping and services" category. In total, Taptu found 83,000 mobile-enabled commerce sites, ranging from mobile shopping assistants to banks and mobile real estate sites.
According to Taptu, mobile shopping and services sites make up close to 25% of all mobile-friendly sites in the company's index, followed by sites in the "photo and design" category (17.7%). Social sites rank third with 9.2%. Personal blogs only make up 1.5% of Taptu's index, a number if is easily bested by adult sites, which account for 3% of all mobile-optimized sites.
It's worth noting that if we combine news and weather sites (3.3%) together with sites about world affairs (8.1%), this category would easily fall into Taptu's top 3.