Who’s Using Smartphones and What Does It Mean to Your Business? - Forum.web.com
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Who’s Using Smartphones and What Does It Mean to Your Business?

Smartphone adoption has finally reached critical mass: More than half of American adults now own smartphones, a Pew Internet & American Life study reports. Specifically, 61 percent of cell phone owners own a smartphone. Since 91 percent of the adult population has a cell phone, that means 56 percent of all American adults have smartphones.

The report also dug deeper into the demographics of smartphone owners. Here’s what Pew found:

  • Younger adults, especially those in their 20s and 30s, are more likely to own smartphones, as are those with relatively high levels of household income and educational attainment. Some 79 percent of those aged 18-24 and 81 percent of those aged 25-34 own smartphones.
  • However, even among the 35-44 and 45-54 age groups, the majority own smartphones (69 percent and 55 percent, respectively).
  • Smartphone adoption drops off significantly at age 65—just 18 percent of those 65 and older have a smartphone. However, even among this group, smartphone ownership has grown significantly compared to 2012, when 13 percent owned smartphones.
  • Android and iPhone are on the rise. The Android platform is now used by 28 percent of all cellphone owners, up from 15 percent in May 2011. iPhone owners represent 25 percent of the cell owner population, up from 10 percent in May 2011.
  • BlackBerry is on the outs. Not surprisingly, the percentage of cellphone owners who have a BlackBerry dropped from 10 percent in May 2011 to just 4 percent today.

There are some interesting income trends regarding smartphone owners. Young adults, no matter what their household income, are likely to own smartphones; even among those whose income is $30,000 or less, 77 percent of those aged 18-29 have smartphones. But for older adults, smartphone ownership is more of an “elite” phenomenon. “[For older adults], smartphones tend to be quite prevalent at the upper end of the income distribution but much less common among those with lower income levels,” the report says. In the 30-49 age group, just 47 percent of those with incomes of $30,000 or less have smartphones, compared to 87 percent of those with an income of $75,000 or more.

In addition, the more upscale and educated a consumer is, the more likely they are to have an iPhone. Thirty-eight percent of all college grads and 49 percent of cell owners with a household income of $150,000 or more have iPhones.

What do these figures mean to you? Increasingly, unless you target seniors (and maybe even then), you need to be mobile-ready. Your ecommerce platform, social media outreach and website all need to be mobile-friendly. Smartphone ownership is only going to grow as younger users (who’ve grown up with smartphones) become older. As these customers develop more spending power, they’ll expect businesses to keep pace with the way they like to live their lives—on their smartphones.

Image by Flickr user Johan Larsson (Creative Commons)


Karen Axelton

Karen Axelton

Karen Axelton is Chief Content Officer of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her company’s blog at SmallBizDaily.com.
Karen Axelton

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