Wealthy, Young, Post College Americans Are More Likely To Be Smartphone Users

Image via unspalsh/Aleks Dorohovich

You might often hear the phrase the “world’s going mobile” and not stop to think about what the implications of that saying really means. While it is true that more and more mobile devices are being used by the population each year, it is a broad generalization to say that the entire world is going mobile. While the latest Pew Research Center study found that 56% of all American adults are smartphone owners, some clarification is needed.

First of all, it is not an even spread across that board that all Americans that are own smartphones. The key distinction is that it is the more affluent — the wealthier — are more likely to adopt a smartphone. According to the Pew study, it was the iPhone that was most likely to be used by households with $75,000 or higher in income and also by those with a higher education.

Does that mean that the iPhone is the smartphone for the wealthy and college educated? The Pew report (n=2,252) found the following:

Education Level of Smartphone Ownership

  • Less than high school — 36%
  • High school grad — 46%
  • Some College — 60%
  • College+ — 70%

Household income

  • Less than $30,000/yr — 43%
  • $30,000-$49,999 — 52%
  • $50,000-$74,999 — 61%
  • $75,000+ — 78%

Android or iPhone?

  • In the 18-54 category, Android is more used. It is not until the 55+ age group that iPhones are the smartphone of choice. Is this a matter of income? Or it is a matter of usability? The report does not say. 
  • The largest variation in iPhone an Android devices when it comes to ethnicity is among Black/Non-Hispanic. In this category, 16% use an iPhone while 42% use Android.
  • In the education and income category, it is not until post college that iPhones are used more.

Another key factor is age.

The highest number of adopters are in the 18-29 age group. This category is the highest for every income level. The biggest variation is among households that earn less than $30,000. In households that earn less than $30,000, 77% of users in the 18-29 category own a smartphone compared to only 8% of users 65+.

Based on these interpretations of the Pew Report, it is the wealthy, post college, young Americans that are the most likely to use a smartphone