For the first time, in this year’s first quarter, more than half of consumers in all age groups own a smartphone, with 51 percent of U.S. adults older than 55 now owning one, recently released Nielsen data show.
In all, 70 percent of Americans own a smartphone, Nielsen said. That’s up from 61 percent in last year’s second quarter, an earlier Nielsen report found. The percentage is expected to continue to grow because 85 percent of recent phone acquirers bought smartphones, Nielsen said in its most recent report.
For the first three months of this year, Google’s Android operating system held a 52 percent market share, with more than half of the phones made by Samsung. Apple’s iOS held a 42 percent share, followed by Windows Phone at 3 percent, BlackBerry at 2 percent and Others at 1 percent, Nielsen said.
Among smartphone manufacturers, Apple controlled 42.5 percent of the market during the quarter, followed by Samsung at 28.7 percent, LG at 7 percent, Motorola at 6.8 percent, HTC at 5.7 percent. BlackBerry and Nokia at 2 percent each, and Others at 3.4 percent.
The percentage of consumers owning smartphones is an important element in determining the future for mobile payments, as the more Internet-connected phones people have, the greater the probability they’ll use them to shop. Last month, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors released “Consumers and Mobile Financial Services 2014,” a report that describes the status of mobile payments and mobile banking in the U.S.
In its report, the Fed found the use of mobile phones to make payments at the point-of-sale has experienced substantial growth, increasing threefold between its 2011 and 2012 surveys, and again between 2012 and 2013. In 2013, 17 percent of smartphone owners, representing 9 percent of the U.S. adult population, reported having used their phone to make a purchase at a retail store in the previous 12 months, the 61-page report notes.
Helping drive much of this activity is simply the increasing percentage of consumers who have mobile phones. The Fed’s research found that 87 percent of U.S. adults had a mobile phone, and 61 percent of those were Internet-enabled smartphones.
Among those consumers who had used their phones to shop at the point of sale, 39 percent did so by scanning a barcode or QR code displayed on their phone’s screen at the cash register, while 14 percent waved or tapped their mobile phone at the register, the report noted.