Top 10 Local US Markets by Smartphone and Tablet Penetration

February 6, 2014

This article is included in these additional categories:

Digital | Global & Regional | Mobile Phone | Tablet

Nielsen-Top-10-Local-Markets-by-Smartphone-Penetration-Feb2014Smartphone penetration continues to grow, exceeding 65% of the US mobile subscriber market during the fourth quarter of 2013, according to comScore. A recent report [download page] from Nielsen pegs smartphone adoption a little higher, at 67% as of November 2013. The study identifies the leading 10 markets in terms of penetration rate: topping the list is Dallas, with 76% penetration.

Closely following were Washington DC and Los Angeles (each at 75%), with San Francisco (74%) and Miami (73%) rounding out the top 5. Of those top 5, two landed on the list of the top 10 markets with the largest year-over-year gains; Washington DC headed that list with an 11-point increase, while San Francisco saw a 10-point increase in penetration.

Nielsen-Top-10-Local-Markets-by-Tablet-Penetration-Feb2014Nielsen also looked at tablet penetration, with its 34% average across the US in November 2013 significantly below recent estimates of more than 40% penetration in December and January. (New device activations over Christmas might have something to do with that.)

Nevertheless, in this case the exact percentage matters less than how local US markets sit in relation to it. Topping the list for tablet penetration were Washington DC and Boston (each at 46%), followed by San Francisco (45%), Atlanta (43%) and New York (42%). Once again, Washington DC had the biggest gain in penetration from the year earlier, up 18 points. Boston (+17 points), San Francisco (+16 points) and Atlanta (+16 points) also were among the fastest-risers.

Any discussion of tablets wouldn’t be complete without some reference to the iPad – the predominant device when it comes to tablet commerce, email opens, and many other areas. According to Nielsen, San Francisco had easily the highest iPad penetration rate, at 33%. No other market cracked the 30% mark, with Washington DC (28%), New York (27%), Boston (27%) and Los Angeles (26%) the next-highest.

Finally, 5 markets appeared on the top 10 lists for both smartphone and tablet penetration. They were:

  • Washington, DC (#2 smartphones; #1 tablets);
  • San Francisco (#4 smartphones; #3 tablets);
  • Baltimore (#6 smartphones; #6 tablets);
  • Chicago (#8 smartphones; #9 tablets); and
  • Atlanta (#10 smartphones; #4 tablets.
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