How many Americans own a smartphone? 2024

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From landlines to cell phones to smartphones, new data proves that smartphones are the preferred method of communication among people of all ages. In 2023, an estimated 92% of Americans owned a smartphone. How essential are they, and how much time do we spend on them? To understand more about the state of smartphones, let’s review the numbers.

Key insights

In 2023, 92% of individuals in the U.S. had at least one smartphone.

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IPhone’s quarterly market share was about 61.3% in Q1 of 2024, up more than 4.1 percentage points from Q1 of 2023.

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On average, most children receive their first smartphone at age 11.

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As of 2022, American adults spent an average of 4.5 hours on their mobile devices each day, not including time spent speaking on the phone.

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As of Q1 in 2023, about 45% of all web traffic in the U.S. originated from smartphones.

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General smartphone statistics

Smartphone usage has increased steadily over time. Between 2014 and 2023, the percentage of U.S. adults who reported owning a smartphone increased by more than 63%.

What do people use their smartphones for?

It is estimated that in 2024 American adults will, on average, spend more than 4.5 hours on their mobile devices each day, and this does not include the time spent on phone calls. Worldwide, the most popular smartphone activity is messaging, which 75% of smartphone users engage in, followed by emailing (71%) and managing finances (63%).

Source: Statista, 2024

At what age do people get their first smartphone?

A 2022 Stanford Medicine study that researched a group of low-income children in Northern California found that they received their first smartphones at age 11, on average. This average age of acquisition may decrease among the general population when factoring in a broader range of financial backgrounds.

The results of that study suggested that families play an important role in determining the best time for a child to get their first smartphone. Other health care professionals confirm that the best age for smartphone acquisition may be between 10 and 14 years old, depending on the child’s daily needs, maturity and levels of independence and responsibility.

Market share by brand

The most popular smartphone brand is iPhone, based on market share (61.3%). iPhones run on an iOS system, while other smartphone brands like Samsung, Google and Lenovo work on an Android operating system or a Windows operating system.

iPhone’s market share has increased by more than 4.1 percentage points since the same period in 2023, while the market share for Samsung, its closest competitor, has decreased by nearly 6.6 percentage points.

In Q3 of 2023, smartphones that ran on iOS made up 55% of the smartphone market, while the remaining 45% of smartphones primarily used the Android operating system.

Ownership demographics

As of 2023, there were over 310 million smartphone users in the U.S.

Age

Adults between the ages of 18 and 49 are the most likely to own a smartphone (97%). After the age of 49, smartphone ownership decreases with increasing age; only 76% of adults ages 65 and over own a smartphone.

Source: Pew Research Center, 2023

Race/ethnicity

Smartphone ownership among adults in the U.S. varies based on race and ethnicity. While 91% of white Americans and Hispanic Americans own a smartphone, only 84% of Black Americans are smartphone owners. In the U.S., 97% of Asians own smartphones, though this does not account for Asians who do not speak English.

Income

The likelihood of smartphone ownership increases with income. Nearly 80% of U.S. adults with an annual income of less than $30,000 own a smartphone. This figure jumps to at least 90% among Americans making $30,000 or more.

Source: Pew Research Center, 2023

Education level

Smartphone ownership also increases with educational attainment.

  • Among those with a high school diploma or less, 83% own smartphones.
  • Among those with at least some college education, 92% own smartphones.
  • Among those with a college degree or more, 97% own smartphones.

Smartphone internet usage

As of Q1 in 2023, about 45% of all web traffic in the U.S. originated from smartphones, and roughly 15% of adults used their smartphones to access the internet at home, having no broadband access or subscription.

Smartphone dependency

The term “smartphone dependency” refers to not having a traditional home broadband service and exclusively using a smartphone as a means of internet access at home.

  • Smartphone dependency affects about 15% of U.S. adults. This has generally decreased from 20% in 2018.
  • Men and women experience comparable incidences of smartphone dependency, with 15% of men and 14% of women citing dependence in 2023.
  • Among adults between the ages of 18 and 29, about 20% are dependent on smartphones for internet access. The least smartphone-dependent age group is adults between the ages of 30 and 49 (11%).
  • Smartphone dependency levels vary by race and ethnicity, with 20% of Hispanic Americans and 21% of Black Americans experiencing smartphone dependency, compared with 12% of white Americans.

Smartphone dependency decreases as education and income increase. As of 2023, the incidence of smartphone dependency decreased by 24 percentage points when comparing individuals with the lowest (<$30,000/year) and highest ($100,000+/year) income levels.

Source: Pew Research Center, 2023.

The incidence of smartphone dependency decreases by 18 percentage points when comparing individuals with a high school education or less and those with a college degree.

Source: Pew Research Center, 2023.

Smartphone dependency appears to be a product of two main factors: high home internet costs and a smartphone’s internet capabilities. Among those who don’t have high-speed internet at home, an equal share (45%) say they can’t afford a home internet subscription and note that their smartphone has all the capabilities they need to access the web and web-based services. The latter is cited as the primary reason for not subscribing to a home internet service by 19% of those who are smartphone dependent.

Mobile shopping using smartphones

  • More than three-quarters of U.S. adults have purchased items online using a smartphone. Among adults ages 18 to 49, that figure increases to 91%.
  • Online purchases with smartphones decrease with age after 49. Among those 50 to 64, only 69% have purchased an item online using a smartphone, and among those 65 and older, only 48% have used a smartphone for an online purchase.
  • Having a higher income increases your likelihood of shopping with a smartphone, as 81% of adults with high incomes make online purchases with smartphones, compared with 74% of adults with lower incomes.
  • Among all adults, 32% make online purchases with their smartphones at least weekly. That figure increases to 49% of adults ages 30 to 49 and 41% for those in an upper income bracket.

Smartphones and mental health

Smartphone overuse or addiction, also known as problematic smartphone use (PSU), occurs when people struggle with or have an inability to control the use of their smartphone to the extent that it impairs their daily functioning. PSU can lead to poor sleep, dangerous driving, depression and anxiety.

  • A large portion of both teens (46%) and adults (41%) state that they use the internet “almost constantly.”
  • According to a 2016 study, the vast majority (78%) of teens check their phones at least hourly, and half report feeling “addicted” to their phones.
  • In a 2023 survey, about 71% of people reported experiencing “stress or anxiety” within 30 minutes of losing their phones. More statistics such as not going 24 hours without it, checking within the first 10 minutes of waking up, etc.

FAQ

How many people have smartphones in the U.S.?

In 2023, there were 310 million smartphone users in the U.S., an estimated 92% of the country.

How many people have purchased items online using a smartphone?

Among U.S. adults, 76% state that they’ve purchased items online using a smartphone. Those ages 18 to 49 were the most likely to say as much (91%).

How many people are dependent on their smartphones?

Smartphone dependency, which refers to the exclusive use of a smartphone for home internet access, affects about 15% of U.S. adults.


References

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  5. Kelly, H. “What age should you give a kid their first phone?” The Washington Post. Evaluated Oct. 19, 2023.Link Here
  6. “Is My Child Ready for a Smartphone?” Cleveland Clinic. Evaluated Oct. 19, 2023.Link Here
  7. “US Smartphone Market Share: By Quarter.” Counterpoint. Evaluated Oct. 20, 2023.Link Here
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  9. “U.S. and World Population Clock.” United States Census Bureau. Evaluated Oct. 20, 2023.Link Here
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  11. Vogels, E., Gelles-Watnick, R., Massarat, N. “Teens, Social Media and Technology 2022.” Pew Research Center. Evaluated Oct. 19, 2023.Link Here
  12. Faverio, M., Anderson, M. “For shopping, phones are common and influencers have become a factor – especially for young adults.” Pew Research Center. Evaluated Oct. 19, 2023.Link Here
  13. Perrin, A. “Mobile Technology and Home Broadband 2021.” Pew Research Center. Evaluated Oct. 19, 2023.Link Here
  14. Busch, P., McCarthy, S. “Antecedents and consequences of problematic smartphone use: A systematic literature review of an emerging research area.” Computers in Human Behavior. Evaluated Oct. 19, 2023.Link Here
  15. Perrin, A., Atske, S. “About three-in-ten U.S. adults say they are ‘almost constantly’ online.” Pew Research Center. Evaluated Oct. 19, 2023.Link Here
  16. Basu, T. “Just How Bad Is Kids’ Smartphone Addiction?” The Daily Beast. Evaluated Oct. 27, 2023.Link Here
  17. Haynes, T. “Dopamine, Smartphones & You: A battle for your time.” Harvard University. Evaluated Oct. 27, 2023.Link Here
  18. “US Smartphone Market Share (Mar 2024).” BankMyCell. Evaluated Feb. 26, 2024.Link Here

Figures

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