Nielsen Takes a Look at Smartphone Demographics

By: Sean Patterson - May 7, 2012

Over at the Nielsenwire blog today, Nielsen highlighted some of the results from its recent Mobile Insights report for the first quarter of 2012. Included is information on how each of the smartphone operating systems are performing and a look at the demographics for smartphone users in the U.S.

The blog post starts off by stating that more than half of U.S. mobile subscribers now use smartphones: 50.4% as of March 2012. Though it also names Apple as the leading manufacturer of those smartphones, recent reports suggest that Samsung might now be the leader in smartphone sales. Regardless of the manufacturer, Nielsen’s number show that Google’s Android OS has a solid lead in the number of smartphones it runs on, 48.5% compared to Apple’s 32%. These numbers are close to the figures comScore recently released, though comScore shows Android as having more than half of the smartphone market. Both have RIM dwindling to around a 12% share of the market.

The most interesting portion of the Nielsen blog post was the demographic information about smartphone users. Though the gender breakdown of smartphone users is almost even (50.9 % female), it turns out that minorities are far more likely than white Americans to use smartphones. More Hispanics, African Americans, and Asian Americans use smartphones than use feature phones. More than two-thirds of Asian Americans (67.3%) use smartphones. The percentage of white Americans that use smartphones is less than half, 44.7%. Take a look at the chart, which accompanies the blog post, below.

Nielsen's chart on smartphone ethnicity, Q1 2012

What do you think? Is there an underlying cause for the rapid adoption of smartphones by minorities? Leave a comment below and let us know.

(graph image courtesy Nielsen)

About the Author

Sean PattersonSean is a staff writer for WebProNews. Follow Sean on Google+: +Sean Patterson and Twitter: @St_Patt

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  • Wes

    Perhaps whites were more likely to be first adopters of cell-phones and became accustomed to feature phones before smartphones became big and are just sticking with what they know. And statistically (IIRC), whites are more likely to have a home computer with high speed internet while for minorities, the smartphone may be their only gateway to the internet, making the the phone’s capabilities more important. I think the data would be more useful if instead of trying to divide people by ethnicity, they looked at economic levels, or even better, who has a computer vs. who doesn’t in relation to cell phones.

  • Murali

    I am Interested to take a Mobile like this actually