The survey was conducted by Nielsen among 20,000 mobile users. That does slightly distort the results as people without any form of cellphone are left out, though that’s a very small percentage of the population these days, and likely neglible among younger adults.
The results, broken down by both age and income brackets told a consistent and somewhat predictable story. For those aged over 25, the more a person earned, the more likely to have a smartphone, and the older they were, the less likely to have one.
The only real exception is for the 18-24 category, where those earning $75,000 or more are less likely to own smartphones than their 25-34 counterparts. That may simply be that people that age earning so much are such a rare breed that they don’t fall into “normal” behavioral patterns.
Trends aside, it’s the raw numbers that stand out. In every income bracket among 18-24s, a majority of phone users are now running a smartphone. The figure is 56 percent even among those earning less than $15,000 a year. Given the minimum wage, that means people who are working part time or not at all.
While that category includes unemployed people, it seems a fair bet the figure is swayed by college students. Still, it’s certainly telling that a smartphone appears for many to be a must-have even when income are tight.
Nielsen also compiled separate figures for those who’d bought a new phone in the past three months, which gives a clear insight into the long term story. Aside from those aged over 65, the majority in every age group are opting for smartphones when they get a new handset. Among both 18-24s and 25-34s, smartphones are the choice for 80 percent of new buyers.