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Smartphone Milestone: Half of Mobile Subscribers Ages 55+ Own Smartphones

1 minute read | April 2014

(Editor’s note: We updated this article on April 24, 2014, to clarify that U.S. smartphone penetration is among mobile subscribers.)

If it seems like everyone you know owns a smartphone these days—perhaps even your parents and grandparents—you’re not alone. As of Q1 2014, for the first time, a majority of U.S. mobile subscribers of all age groups own smartphones. In fact, 51 percent of mobile owners over the age of 55 now own smartphones, up 10 percent from Q1 2013, driving the growth in smartphone penetration to seven out of 10 Americans overall (70%). And smartphone penetration continues to grow every day, with 85 percent of recent acquirers picking smartphones when purchasing new handsets.

As more Americans of all age groups adopt smartphones, we took an updated look at which handsets consumers are carrying. The majority of smartphones in the U.S. run Android OS (52%), and more than half of these were made by Samsung (29%). But Apple remains the largest smartphone manufacturer, whose handsets are used by 42 percent of smartphone owners in the U.S. Meanwhile, Nokia’s market share doubled over the last year and overtook Blackberry as more recent acquirers of smartphone have chosen Windows Phone handsets, which now make up 3 percent of smartphones in the U.S.


Data based on Nielsen’s monthly survey of 20,000+ mobile subscribers aged 13+ in the U.S. Mobile owners are asked to identify their primary mobile handset by manufacturer and model, which are weighted to be demographically representative of mobile subscribers in the U.S. Smartphone penetration reflects all models with a high-level OS (including Apple iOS, Android, Windows, BlackBerry).

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