Q1 2012 Mobile Insights: More than half of US mobile subscribers are smartphone owners

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A recent study by Nielsen revealed that more than half (50.4%) of U.S. mobile subscribers owned smartphones in March 2012. To put this in perspective, in February 2011, 36% of U.S. mobile subscribers owned smartphones – an increase of 14.4% in a little over a year.

This rapid growth can be attributed to the trend that is occurring amongst new mobile subscribers- new subscribers are choosing smartphones over feature phones. In February 2011, around 62% of new mobile subscribers chose feature phones while 38% chose smartphones; however, in one year, these figures have changed to 52% & 48%, respectively (See chart below).

Fast forward to now, new mobile subscribers in the U.S. are choosing to buy smartphones more often than feature phones.

What smartphones are people buying?

Android is the top smartphone OS with 48.5% market share, followed by iOS with 32.0%, and then trailing behind at a distance are RIM Blackberry (11.6%), Windows, and other. While Android leads as the most popular smartphone OS, the most popular smartphone manufacturer is Apple.

Who are the mobile subscribers in the US? 

Females: Of female mobile subscribers, 50.9% owned smartphones compared to 50.1% of male mobile subscribers.

Asians: 67.3% of mobile subscribers of this ethnicity own smartphones, followed by Hispanics (57.3%), African Americans (54.4%), and Caucasians (44.7%).

25 to 34 year olds: 66% of mobile subscribers in this age group own smartphones. Those with the highest incomes are more likely to own smartphones (See chart below).

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