Majority of Americans now own a smartphone

6 Jun 2013

More than half of American adults are now smartphone owners, according figures from the Pew Research Centre’s Internet & American Life Project, as these devices increasingly become the norm.

The Pew Internet & American Life Project has been tracking smartphone adoption in the US for the past two years and its latest report finds that 91pc of the adult population of the US owns some kind of mobile phone, and 61pc of these own smartphones.  

This means the majority of all American adults are smartphone owners at 56pc. Ownership is highest among those in their twenties and thirties, with the 25 to 34 age group seeing the highest adoption rate at 81pc.

But every demographic saw significant year-on-year growth in smartphone ownership between 2012 and 2013. Even the over 65 category grew by 5pc to reach 18pc.

Pew Internet & American Life Project smartphone adoption graph

Smartphone ownership is also more common among those with higher levels of household income and education. While 70pc of those with at least college-level education own a smartphone, only 36pc of those without a high school diploma have one; and 78pc of those with an annual household income over US$75,000 are smartphone owners compared to 43pc of those with less than US$30,000. These divisions were more clearly seen among older age groups, where smartphones still appear to be more of an elitist item.

Pew Internet & American Life Project smartphone adoption graph

Those in the upper end of the income and education spectrum were also more likely to be iPhone owners. Overall, 28pc of all mobile phone owners in the US are using Android devices and 25pc have an iPhone. This shows great gains for both compared to figures of 15pc and 10pc, respectively, in May 2011.

BlackBerry has seen a shift in the opposite direction, dropping from 10pc of the market in May 2011 to 4pc in the latest figures, while Windows Phone struggles to break out of the low percentages.

Pew Internet & American Life Project smartphone adoption graph

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.