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Get ready Smartphone shipments to double
MADISON, Wis. (9/14/12)--Smartphone shipments are forecast to reach 567 million in 2012, and nearly double by 2016 as new phones such as this week's freshly unveiled iPhone 5 continue to enter the market, according to a new study by NPD DisplaySearch released Wednesday. That means credit unions can expect to gear up for more mobile banking.

"Apple's iPhone 5 will be a key product for the smartphone market in the second half of 2012. Apple shipped more than 140 million phones in 2010 and 2011, so we can expect smartphone shipments to continue flourishing as users upgrade to the new iPhone," said Hirsoshi Hayase, vice president, small/medium displays for NPD DisplaySearch.

Despite the excitement surrounding the new iPhone, the volume of new smartphone shipments is lower than expected. NPD DisplaySearch downgraded its 2012 forecast of new purchases from the 220-million-to-230-million ballpark to 177 million. The volume of replacement phones, however, is expected to increase as new smartphones enter the market.

"The timing of mobile phone contracts can also impact the smartphone market," said Hayase. "More service providers are likely to shorten mobile phone replacement cycles in an effort to boost sales."

Many credit unions added mobile-banking capabilities to their service this year, in hopes of attracting younger members.

CUNA Mutual Group said that since it launched its smartphone loan application last year, it has garnered 40 new credit unions as Loanliner platform customers (News Now Sept. 13).

With the app, CUNA Mutual has processed roughly 35,000 loan applications and generating more than $335 million in loan application volume, said InformationWeek (Sept. 11).

The smartphone app could be a key element for credit unions trying to attract younger members because the average age of a credit union member is 47 years old, while the average smartphone loan application user is 32, the publication said.

The app supports Apple and Android devices.

More than 550 credit unions have implemented the smartphone loan app, and CUNA Mutual has partnered with Fiserv, a global provider of financial services technology, to make the app available to an additional 350 credit unions, InformationWeek said.
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