Smartphones Now Virtually Ubiquitous Among Millennial Mobile Subscribers

December 2, 2016

This article is included in these additional categories:

African-American | Asian-American | Boomers & Older | Digital | Hispanic | Men | Mobile Phone | Women | Youth & Gen X

nielsen-smartphone-penetration-by-age-group-in-q3-dec2016Almost 9 in every 10 (88% of) US mobile subscribers aged 13 and older owned a smartphone in Q3, reports Nielsen, a 10% year-over-year rise from 80% in Q3 2015. Nielsen’s data, based on a monthly survey of more than 30,000 mobile subscribers, shows that feature phones have become essentially extinct among younger subscribers.

Indeed, among the mobile subscribers surveyed in Q3, 98% of 18-24-year-olds and 97% of 25-34-year-olds reported owning a smartphone. The 35-44 bracket was right there with them, as 96% said they owned smartphones.

Smartphone ownership has extended to older age groups, also. Among subscribers aged 55-64, 8 in 10 now own a smartphone. And among those aged 65 and older, fully two-thirds (68%) have a smartphone, a stark increase from a couple of years back, when comScore data pegged penetration among this group at about 43%.

While there remains somewhat of an age gap in smartphone ownership, there isn’t much of one among genders, with 89% of female subscribers owning a smartphone compared to 87% of male subscribers.

Meanwhile, multicultural subscribers continue to sport the highest rates of smartphone ownership when sorting by race and ethnicity, led by Asian-Americans (95%) and followed by African-Americans (93%) and Hispanics (90%).

Top 8 Apps All Owned by Facebook or Google

It was recently reported that analysts believe that Google and Facebook together accounted for all of digital advertising revenue growth in the first half of this year.

As it turns out, they’ve got the smartphone app game figured out, too. Indeed, according to Nielsen’s data, either Facebook or Google owned each of the top 8 applications by active reach among smartphone-owning adults. They were:

  • Facebook: 74%;
  • Facebook Messenger: 68%;
  • YouTube: 58%;
  • Google Maps: 55%;
  • Google Search: 52%;
  • Google Play: 50%;
  • Gmail – Email from Google: 45%; and
  • Instagram: 39%.

Rounding out the top 10 in Q3? Apple Music (35%) and the Amazon App (35%). Look for that latter one to see higher adoption in the Q4 holiday period…

About the Data: Nielsen’s Mobile Insights is a monthly survey of 30,000+ mobile subscribers aged 13+ in the U.S. Data is collected primarily online and also via in-app mobile and a supplemental Spanish language landline phone survey fielded among Hispanics aged 18+. Mobile subscribers are asked to identify their primary handset by manufacturer and model; smartphones are defined as any handset with a high-level operating system. All data is weighted to be nationally representative of the U.S. wireless subscriber population.

Nielsen’s Electronic Mobile Measurement is installed with permission on panelist smartphones (approximately 9,000 panelists ages 18+ with Android and iOS handsets). The panelists are recruited online in English and include Hispanic, African-American, Asian-American, Native American and Alaskan Native and other mixed racial background consumer representation.

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