Hispanics, Asians Most Likely US Smartphone Owners

February 2, 2011

nielsen-smartphone-penetration-by-raceq4-yoy-feb11.gifAs of December 2010, nearly a third (31%) of all mobile consumers in the US owned smartphones, according to new data from The Nielsen Company. But smartphone penetration is even higher among mobile users who are part of ethnic and racial minorities in the US; namely Asian/Pacific Islanders (45%), Hispanics (45%) and African-Americans (33%), populations that also tend to skew younger. Meanwhile, only 27% of white mobile users reported owning a smartphone.

Recent Smartphone Acquisitions Also Skew Minority

nielsen-smartphone-race-recent-feb-2011.jpgWhile 42% of whites who purchased a mobile phone in the past six months chose a smartphone rather than a feature phone, 60% of Asians/Pacific Islanders, 56% of Hispanics, and 44% of African-Americans who bought cellphones in the past six months chose smartphones.

Asians Display Strong Apple iOS Preference

nielsen-smartphone-mobile-os-q4-feb-2011.jpgDividing smartphone owners by ethnicity, Nielsen data reveals that a majority of three of the four major US ethnic groups owned a phone running on Apple iOS during Q4 2010, with Asians having the most pronounced preference (36%). The largest percentage of African-Americans owned a phone running on RIM Blackberry (31%), followed by Android OS (27%).

Interestingly, fewer African-Americans owned a smartphone running on Apple iOS (15%) than one running a smartphone falling into the “other” category (27%).

Mobile OS Share Leaders in 3-Way Tie

nielsen-smartphone-mobile-os-feb-2011.jpgWhen it comes to market share of the installed base, that is, US mobile consumers who already own smartphones, in December 2010 there was a three-way tie between RIM Blackberry, the smartphone pioneer, Apple iOS, which revolutionized the smartphone and popularized mobile apps, and Android OS, the operating system created by Google which has been taking the market by storm.

Going back to October 2009, it is clear that Apple iOS has been staying flat and RIM Blackberry has been plummeting while Android has been picking up RIM Blackberry’s lost customers and preventing Apple iOS from growing. In October 2009, RIM Blackberry held a 38% share of the US smartphone installed base, Apple iOS held 27% and Android OS held 2%.

Since then, RIM Blackberry and Android OS have displayed inverse growth curves while Apple iOS has never gone above 29% or below 26%.

Android Dominates Recent Acquisitions

nielsen-smartphone-mobile-os-recent-feb-2011.JPGAnalyzing the preferences of those who purchased a smartphone in the past six months shows Android is clearly in the lead with 43% of recent acquirers purchasing an Android device, compared to 26% for Apple iOS and 20% for RIM Blackberry.

Canalys: Android Conquers World

Google Android has become the leading global smartphone platform, according to new data from Canalys. Shipments of Android-based smart phones during Q4 2010 reached 32.9 million (32.6% share), while devices running Nokia’s Symbian platform trailed almost 6% at 31 million (30.6% share) worldwide.

Apple iPhone came in a distant third with 16.2 million devices running the iPhone platform shipping globally in Q4 2010, trailing Android by more than 50% with 16% share. In total 101.2 million smartphones shipped worldwide during Q4 2010, an almost 89% jump from 53.7 million in Q4 2009.

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