.. or as the Kansas City Star headlined it: Smartphones now more common than dumb phones. In some ways, 2012 could be regarded as a threshold year for the mobile web. It is slowly becoming the dominant part of online activity.
The findings on US adults and smartphones is part of the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project. They report that Nearly half of American adults are smartphone owners
Nearly half (46%) of American adults are smartphone owners as of February 2012, an increase of 11 percentage points over the 35% of Americans who owned a smartphone last May. Two in five adults (41%) own a cell phone that is not a smartphone, meaning that smartphone owners are now more prevalent within the overall population than owners of more basic mobile phones.
All the major demographic groups – men and women, younger and middle-aged adults, urban and rural residents, the wealthy and the less well-off – experienced significant growth in smartphone penetration over the last year. For some groups, adoption levels are at 60% or more including college graduates, 18-35 year olds and those with an annual household income of $75,000 or more.
There are groups that saw modest or non-existent growth in the last year. For seniors for example, just 13% of those aged 65 and older now own a smartphone.
Methodology: The results in the report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International from January 20 to February 19, 2012, among a sample of 2,253 adults, age 18 and older. Telephone interviews were conducted in English and Spanish by landline (1,352) and cell phone (901, including 440 without a landline phone). For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling is plus or minus 2.3 percentage points. For results based Internet users (n=1,729), the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.
This Smartphone Trend Is No Surprise
No one should be surprised by these findings. Two years ago, Nielsen was spot on in predicting that Smartphones to Overtake Feature Phones in U.S. by 2011.
We are just at the beginning of a new wireless era where smartphones will become the standard device consumers will use to connect to friends, the internet and the world at large. The share of smartphones as a proportion of overall device sales has increased to 29% for phone purchasers in the last six months and 45% of respondents to a Nielsen survey indicated that their next device will be a smartphone. If we combine these intentional data points with falling prices and increasing capabilities of these devices along with a explosion of applications for devices, we are seeing the beginning of a groundswell. This increase will be so rapid, that by the end of 2011, Nielsen expects more smartphones in the U.S. market than feature phones.