Two out of three Americans own a smartphone, global average still at 20 percent

February 13, 2014
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Nielson digital consumer market share report

Mobile devices are in, traditional computing and television service are out, according to the 28 page February Nielson Digital Consumer Report.

At an average of four portable web enabled devices per person, the US has three times more smartphone owners per-capita than the global average. The report says there two out of three Americans own a smartphone, with half of the active owners using their phone to access social media on a daily basis. The combination of live television consumption and the use of a standard computer for internet access is down almost 5 hrs per person per month, smartphone usage is up nearly 10 hours per month over 2012.

Putting some of this into perspective, live television is still the clear leader of US digital consumption. The major change over 2012 is that smartphone usage has overtaken the use of computers into second place on the list of technologies.

Growth in streaming video services caused a slowdown in the cable industry, seeing that only 54% of Americans now purchase digital cable. 46% own game consoles. Both are overtaken by the 22% smartphone growth from 44% in 2011 to 66% today. Tablets are measured separate from smartphones, raking in 29% market share themselves, up from 4% in 2011.

In many categories, the tablet and the smartphone share our attention. For entertainment and shopping, the larger screen of the tablet performs more visual tasks, like web surfing and product research, while the smartphone handles actual transactions and communications, such as emailing and texting.

Apps vs mobile web

One interesting item shared in this report that developers and businesses should take note: over 85% of mobile device usage is done through applications, relatively few users actually use mobile websites.

At the current mobile device usage levels, many are asking when we should consider the market to be saturated. This is a hard one to answer, and certainly leaves itself open to discussion of advancements and innovations in the technology. The majority of persons that are willing to own a smartphone already own one, and this is probably true of yourself reading this.

So tell me, will you be hanging onto your current device for the next 5 years, or are you already eager to buy the yet non-existent Nexus 6 or Galaxy S5 handsets?

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