One-in-four Smartphone Owners Don’t Use a Case to Protect Their Phone, According to NPD

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Nearly 70 Percent of Non-case Smartphone Users Are Android Owners

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While a large portion of smartphone owners do use a case to protect their smartphone, one-in-four go case-less, according to The NPD Group’s recent Smartphone Case Segmentation Study. Among this group, almost 70 percent own an Android phone while just 20 percent are using an iPhone. One-in-three Android owners said they don’t use a case because they weren’t worried about dropping their phone. A third of iPhone owners who do not use a case say a case would add too much bulk to the design of their phone.

Still 75 percent of smartphone owners have a case on their phone. According to NPD’s Retail Tracking Service, over the past 12 months, unit sales of mobile phone cases have grown 17 percent and according to NPD’s Mobile Phone Track Service, smartphone device sales have increased 24 percent.

According to the study, iPhone and Android owners show different propensities for protecting their devices. For instance, nearly 9-in-10 iPhone owners (87 percent) use a protective case with their phone- higher than the average for all smartphone users. Meanwhile, just two-in-three (66 percent) Android phone owners use a protective case.

“Case usage among iPhone owners is higher than any other phone type,” said Ben Arnold, executive director, industry analyst at NPD. “While the large selection of cases made for iPhones on the market today is likely driving much of this attachment, there are also differences in the protection motivations of owners. For instance, 27 percent of iPhone owners classify themselves as ‘quality protectors,’ those who seek the absolute maximum level of protection from a smartphone case, while just 13 percent of Android owners classify themselves as such.”

iPhone owners are also more likely to own multiple cases during the lifespan of their phone. Nearly half (49 percent) of iPhone owners have attached more than one case to their device during its lifespan, and a quarter own more than one as way to change the look of their phone.

“The mobile phone protection market now includes a variety of brands, features, and price points that appeal to nearly any type of smartphone owner,” said Arnold. “However, there is still good portion of the consumer market not using them and in an effort to appeal to that segments we could begin to see a focus in the market on ultra slim case form factors and materials that both protect and maintain the phone’s design integrity.”


A US representative sample of more than 3,200 consumers (13+) were surveyed from NPD’s online panel for the September report.

Consumer Segment Descriptions

Quality Protector: Ultimate goal is to preserve their smartphone.
Fashionista: Considers the style/fashion of cases to be of paramount importance.
Cute and Cheap: Similar to Fashionistas, but considerably more sensitive to cost.
Basic Protector: Tends to be the least selective and doesn’t put much thought into the case selection process.
Savvy Enthusiast: Overly enthusiastic about cases and technology, in general.

About The NPD Group, Inc.

The NPD Group provides global information and advisory services to drive better business decisions. By combining unique data assets with unmatched industry expertise, we help our clients track their markets, understand consumers, and drive profitable growth. Sectors covered include automotive, beauty, consumer electronics, entertainment, fashion, food / foodservice, home, luxury, mobile, office supplies, sports, technology, toys, and video games. For more information, visit and Follow us on Twitter: @npdtech and @npdgroup.

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Sarah Bogaty
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