I have never tried to hide the fact I am a huge fan of prepaid. And it looks like a good number of consumers agree with me. NPD released a report today showing that over one-third of all smartphone sales in the first quarter of 2013 went sans-contact. Prepaid accounted for 32% of all smartphone sales in Q1 of 2013 while the other 68% were tied to the traditional contract. Year-over-year this is a 11% increase.
What is helping push these numbers? According to NPD it is not the carriers but the nationwide retailers leading the charge in sale. In fact, shares of prepaid sales are down year-over-year at carriers owned stores; falling for 51% to 37%. At the same time sales share of prepaid smartphones at stores like Target and Best Buy are up for 34% to 47%.
As far as what manufacturers are getting the most sales Samsung of course tops the list. The fact that the Galaxy S2 can be picked up on several prepaid carriers, the Galaxy S3 is available as a prepaid option on some others like MetroPCS and T-Mobile helped them out a lot. LG saw a huge surge in this category; doubling their share of the prepaid market over Q1 of 2012. With the iPhone 4 and 4S now available on prepaid carriers like Virgin Mobile Apple has quadrupled their share of the prepaid market; though they still only have a 8% share.