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Affluent Americans Increase Usage of Mobile Apps


According to recent eMarketer estimates, 31 percent of mobile phone users -- or 73.3 million people in the U.S. market, currently have a smartphone. Penetration is still growing, and smartphones will be used by 43 percent of mobile phone service subscribers by 2015.

As advanced handsets reach more people, mobile phone application adoption has gained new momentum. But application usage still shows evidence of being most popular among the typical early-adopter demographic.

Overall, Ask.com and Harris Interactive found that 69 percent of U.S. smartphone owners had downloaded a mobile app as of October 2010. Among men the figure was 74 percent, while just 62 percent of women said they had downloaded apps.

Survey 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 years of age.

Subscriber income is a significant indicator of app download market potential, as it is with smartphone ownership overall. The most affluent respondents were much 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 considered a niche activity. The higher focus of young and affluent smartphone users on mobile apps will make them an attractive target among marketers.

Also, as lower-usage segments of the population continue to adopt smartphones, and those with smartphones utilize all advanced features of the device, then app usage will likely increase exponentially.

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