Nielsen Shows Smartphone in US Hits Critical Mass

Posted by at 12:28 pm on February 21, 2012

Two thirds of those in the ‘sweet spot’ of ages 25 to 34 have a smartphone, Nielsen said Monday. As of January, 66 percent of everyone studied in the age bracket had one of the more advanced cellphones. The figure had also passed the tipping point for everyone else aged 44 or younger.

Among acquirers from just the past three months, smartphones were now the majority for everyone under age 65, showing that the category was about to reach dominance. Across everyone, 69 percent had bought a smartphone, with that number hitting 80 percent for everyone 34 percent or younger.

As could be expected, income did have a direct impact on whether or not someone owned a smartphone, although the gap varied depending on age. Stratification became clearest from 35 years old onwards, possibly as family duties and familiarity made it harder to justify a smartphone without high income. Among the youngest groups, though, having virtually any full-time job was enough to make smartphone ownership the majority.

Nielsen didn’t choose to break down ownership by the platform, although it’s historically been true that Android skews towards younger buyers where iOS leans towards older buyers. The BlackBerry’s traditional place among workers and often executives has also attached it more closely to an older audience.

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