Note: For a more recent look at Pew Research Center’s findings on smartphones and other mobile devices, see “10 facts about smartphones.”
Smartphones have become an important way for Americans to communicate, go online, and access and share information. A new Pew Research Center report analyzes smartphone ownership and the attitudes and behaviors of smartphone owners, as well as how these mobile devices have become a primary way for some users to access the internet.
Here are six key findings from the report:
2Some smartphone owners – particularly younger adults, minorities and lower-income Americans – depend on their smartphone for internet access. Of U.S. adults who own a smartphone, 7% are “smartphone-dependent,” meaning that they do not have home broadband service and have limited options for going online other than their mobile device. Young adults, ages 18-29, are more likely (15%) than other age groups to be smartphone-dependent, while Latinos (13%) and African Americans (12%) are more heavily dependent on their smartphone for internet access than are whites (4%). Lower-income Americans also rely heavily on smartphones for going online – 13% of U.S. adults with an annual household income of less than $30,000 are smartphone-dependent, compared with 1% of those whose family household income is $75,000 or more.
5How essential is your smartphone to your life? Fully 46% of smartphone owners say their smartphone is something “they couldn’t live without,” compared with 54% who say that their phone is “not always needed.” Interestingly, smartphone owners who depend on their mobile device for internet access are not significantly more inclined than those who have multiple options for going online to say they couldn’t live without their phone (49% vs. 46%).
6Owning a smartphone can be a financial burden for some users. Nearly one-quarter (23%) of smartphone owners have canceled or suspended their cell phone service because the cost was too expensive. This is particularly the case for smartphone owners whose annual household income falls below $30,000, of which 44% have discontinued their service. And while a majority of smartphone owners (80%) say their mobile device is worth the cost, 19% describe their phone as a financial burden.