September 4, 2013

Smartphone wars: More options for fast-growing market

Microsoft has announced plans to buy the Nokia Phones Division, unifying its hardware and software production. Meanwhile, Apple is set to release its latest batch of iPhones next week, but this time in color.  Add in Android’s ongoing challenge to Apple and Blackberry’s recent bid for more smartphone relevance, and the market is brimming with options.

All of this could add to consumer choice, as buyers are snapping up smartphones at a rapid pace. A majority of Americans (56%) now own a smartphone, up from 35% the first time we asked in May 2011.  Cellphones in general are now almost ubiquitous – 91% of adults own a cellphone according to our latest survey.

Among cellphone owners, iPhone and Android have seen dramatic growth since 2011.  Android owners now account for 28% of all cell owners (up from 15% in May 2011), while iPhone follows closely behind with 25% of the cell owner population (up from 10% in May 2011).  Meanwhile, the proportion of Blackberry owners has fallen from 10% in May 2011 to just 4% in our most recent survey.

So, are there any distinguishing factors between iPhone and Android owners? Our demographic data show that iPhone owners tend to be well-educated and affluent. For example, 38% of cell owners with a college degree own an iPhone compared with 11% who don’t have a high school diploma. Androids, however, have been more evenly adopted across a wide spectrum of education levels and income brackets. Among cell owners, men own Androids at higher rates than women (31% versus 26%), while African Americans are especially likely to own an Android (42% versus 26% of whites and 27% of Hispanics).

We have more demographic breakdowns among smartphone owners by gender, age, race/ethnicity and education in our June report.

Topics: Digital Media

  1. is a Research Assistant at the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project.

Leave a Comment

Or

All comments must follow the Pew Research comment policy and will be moderated before posting.