Singles Keep Their Smartphones Close at Hand - eMarketer

Newsletters Sign-Up

Plans & Pricing

Does My Company Subscribe?

Singles Keep Their Smartphones Close at Hand

Top mobile activities include texting and browsing the internet

September 18, 2013

The number of unmarried US adults has grown to encompass a considerable demographic unto itself. The US Census Bureau found that the number of men and women living alone or in nonfamily households increased 78.7% since 1970 to 33.6 million households in 2012, or more than one-third of total US households.

US Households, by Type, 1970-2012 (% of total)

As the single audience has increased, the demographic has become a key target for marketers, and, it seems, one that they are highly likely to find on advanced mobile devices.

According to a May 2013 survey from dating websites ChristianMingle and JDate, more than half of surveyed single smartphone users between 21 and 42 years old said they were so dependent on their mobile device that it was “like an addiction.” And about 40% of unmarried men and women in this age range said they got less sleep than they should because they were up late with the device.

Attitudes of US Single Smartphone Users Toward Their Relationship with Their Smartphone, by Age, May 2013 (% of respondents in each group)

Among this demographic, being constantly connected is becoming the norm, and turning off is getting harder and harder to do.

Overall, eMarketer estimates, 69.1% of 18- to 24-year-olds and 72.2% of 25- to 34-year-olds in the US—age groups likely well represented among adult singles—will use a smartphone this year.

Single women showed a somewhat higher addiction to their smartphone than men, according to the online dating sites’ study. Two out of five men said they checked their mobile device first thing in the morning, compared to a greater 48% of women. The youngest adult smartphone-using singles were the most likely to look at their device first thing, with this tendency decreasing among older age brackets.

Texting was a constant activity every day for nearly half of singles, at 47%, 12 percentage points more than those who merely texted several times a day. About three-quarters said they surfed the web throughout the day, and an almost equal percentage of respondents said they emailed and checked social sites at least a few times daily.

Frequency of Mobile Content Activities According to US Single Smartphone Users, May 2013 (% of respondents)

Besides their ever-at-hand smartphones, 61% of total US singles also reported owning a tablet, meaning that for marketers, the likelihood of finding this audience on mobile throughout the day—at home, at work and when out—is great.

Corporate subscribers have access to all eMarketer analyst reports, articles, data and more. Join the thousands of marketers who already benefit from eMarketer’s approach. Learn more.


  • Go beyond the articles:

    eMarketer Products

    You've never experienced research like this.

  • Hear from our clients:

    Customer Stories

    Nearly all Fortune 500 companies rely on us.

  • Want to learn more?

    Contact Us

    Inquire about corporate subscriptions today.