More Than Half Of Americans Now Own A Smartphone


Not that this should surprise anyone, but PEW just released research sharing a majority of Americans now own a smartphone of some kind. A quick summary of their findings from their site:

  • 55% of cell phone owners say that their phone is a smartphone.

  • 58% of cell phone owners say that their phone operates on a smartphone platform common to the U.S. market.

Taken together, 61% of cell owners said yes to at least one of these questions and are classified as smartphone owners. Because 91% of the adult population now owns some kind of cell phone, that means that 56% of all American adults are now smartphone adopters. One third (35%) have some other kind of cell phone that is not a smartphone, and the remaining 9% of Americans do not own a cell phone at all.

Of course, a smartphone is essentially just a mobile computer with the phone being one (now relatively minor) functionality of the device. It’s my opinion the day will come, sooner rather than later, when every single person in the US (and eventually, globally) will own a smartphone. The trend in PEW’s research supports this as shown above. Whether we continue to call them “phones” or not is to be determined, as with their actual use this doesn’t seem like the best name for them anymore. But names are powerful so smartphone could stick, too.

As an owner of a smartphone since having an early LG slide, then a Windows CE device, then gen 1 iPhone, then 2 generations of Androids, I’m excited for the future. Smartphones have (obviously) moved beyond the realm of early adopters into mainstream. Yet despite some who see a mobile-only world, I foresee a “mobile-and” world, where smartphones complement a laptop / home workstation setup with external monitor. At least to those who are power users in a professional space and use their computing time to create content, art, code, conduct business or play high quality games.

Growth here is amazing and will continue, and I personally welcome the next half of the US — and the rest of the world — to mobile computing. It seriously improves the quality of your life and work and the current generation of devices brings to life computing dreams I’ve had since owning a 486 as a child.

Related: if you’re a marketer or developer creating and promoting mobile apps, I’ve previously written a primer on mobile app measurement as one of my monthly columns at ClickZ.

Hat tip Mathew Ingram for the link.