Feature Article

December 16, 2013

Smartphones Used by Most-Especially the Rich

Apple has been marketing as a premium brand for quite some time, and even though a quarter of all cell phone users use an iPhone, the brand is in fact the smartphone of choice when it comes to the rich.

“Cell phone owners from a wide range of educational and household income groupings have similar levels of Android adoption, but those from the upper end of the income and education spectrum are much more likely than those with lower income and educational levels to say they own an iPhone,” noted a recent Pew Research survey on cell phone adoption.

The survey found that half of all cell owners who live in a household that makes more than $150,000 use an iPhone.

It also found that African-Americans are more likely to choose an Android phone, while whites and Latinos more often than not went for an iPhone.

Overall, Android now runs on the cell phones of 28 percent of cell phone users, while the iPhone accounts for 25 percent. This is up from 15 percent and 10 percent, respectively, in 2011. In that same time, Blackberry dropped from 10 percent of all cell phones to just 4 percent.

With this most recent survey, smartphones in general have officially become the norm. Pew found that 56 percent of all Americans now have a smartphone since 61 percent of cell users use smartphones and 91 percent of the adult population now uses cell phones. This is the first survey of smartphones by Pew where more people are using smartphones than not.

Adoption is particularly high among both the young and the affluent, showing that the young see the direction of the world and those with money also can spot the need for smartphones.

More than 80 percent of those under 30 use a smartphone, and 78 percent of families making more than $75,000 a year use smartphones, the study found.

“Every major demographic group experienced significant year-to-year growth in smartphone ownership between 2012 and 2013, although seniors—defined as those 65 and older—continue to exhibit relatively low adoption levels compared with other demographic groups,” noted the survey.

Work demands might largely account for this trend. Those in the business world need smartphones to stay competitive, although seniors are less likely to need such always-on access. Only 18 percent of those over 65 have a smartphone, the study noted.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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