Audience is still largely male, young and affluent
eMarketer estimates 31% of mobile users, or 73.3 million people in the US, have a smartphone this year. Penetration is still growing fairly quickly, and smartphones will be in the hands of 43% of mobile users by 2015. As advanced handsets reach more consumers, the app revolution has taken off—but research suggests that app adoption still shows evidence of being most popular among typical early-adopter demographics.
Overall, Ask.com and Harris Interactive found that 69% of US smartphone owners had downloaded a mobile app as of October 2010. Among men the figure was 74%, while just 62% of women said they had downloaded apps.
Respondents ages 35 to 44 were most likely to report having downloaded a mobile app, followed closely by those ages 18 to 24. Overall, app downloads among smartphone users ages 18 to 44 were significantly higher than among older users. Downloading an app was actually a minority activity for those over 55.
Income also played a role in app downloads, as it does in smartphone ownership overall. The most affluent respondents were more likely to say they had downloaded an app, while those making less than $75,000 annually came in below average.
There are only a few demographic groups for which apps are still a niche activity, but the programs have not yet reached mass-media status for all users. The higher focus of young and affluent smartphone users on mobile apps will bolster their popularity among marketers. And as lower-usage groups continue to adopt smartphones and those with smartphones become more comfortable with the devices their habits will likely follow suit.
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Check out today’s other article, “Social Gaming Market to Surpass $1 Billion.”