In its first standalone measure of smartphone ownership, the Pew Internet Project finds that one third of American adults – 35% – own smartphones. The Project’s May survey found that 83% of US adults have a cell phone of some kind, and that 42% of them own a smartphone. That translates into 35% of all adults.
Our definition of a smartphone owner includes anyone who falls into either of the following two categories:
- One-third of cell owners (33%) say that their phone is a smartphone.
- Two in five cell owners (39%) say that their phone operates on a smartphone platform (these include iPhones and Blackberry devices, as well as phones running the Android, Windows or Palm operating systems).
Several demographic groups have high levels of smartphone adoption, including the financially well-off and well-educated, non-whites, and those under the age of 45.
Some 87% of smartphone owners access the internet or email on their handheld, including two-thirds (68%) who do so on a typical day. When asked what device they normally use to access the internet, 25% of smartphone owners say that they mostly go online using their phone, rather than with a computer. While many of these individuals have other sources of online access at home, roughly one third of these “cell mostly” internet users lack a high-speed home broadband connection.
About the Survey
The results reported here are based on a national telephone survey of 2,277 adults conducted April 26-May 22, 2011. 1,522 interviews were conducted by landline phone, and 755 interviews were conducted by cell phone. Interviews were conducted in both English and Spanish. For results based on all adults, the margin of error is +/-2 percentage points; for results based on all cell owners, the margin of error is +/-3 percentage points (n=1,194); and for results based on smartphone owners, the margin of error is +/-4.5 percentage points (n=688).