Cell phone application downloading and use are on the rise, with half of all adult cell owners now equipped with apps on their phones, according to [download page] a November 2011 report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Data from the report indicates this to be a 16% increase from the 43% of US adult cell phone owners who had an app on their phone in May 2010. In addition, in August 2011, of the 84% of US adults who reported having a cell phone, 38% said they had downloaded an app to their phone, a 31% increase from 29% of cell phone owners in May 2010, and a 73% hike from the 22% who reported having done so in September 2009.
While the overall proportion of adults downloading cell phone apps has increased, the demographic profile of this group has not significantly changed. 60% of cell phone owners aged 18-29 download apps to their cell phones, up 15% from 52% in 2010, and remaining in the top spot. This group is followed by adults aged 30-49, whose app downloading growth has been more substantial, rising 48% from 31% in 2010 to 46% this year. Meanwhile, men (40%) are still more likely than women (36%) to have downloaded an app, although the proportion of women downloading apps has increased 50% since May 2010, narrowing the gap. Overall, downloading of apps continues to be most common among those with college degrees (48%), annual incomes over $75,000 (55%), and living in urban (40%) or suburban (40%) areas.
According to the report, while downloading of apps onto mobile devices is growing, it is still lower than might be expected given the high percentage of cell phone owners using their phones for various activities and tasks. The leading activities among cell phone owners are texting and taking a picture (73% each), followed by sending a photo or video (54%) and accessing the internet (44%). Meanwhile, 38% report downloading an app, the same proportion that uses their phone to send or receive an email. Playing games (35%), recording videos (34%), and playing music (34%) follow closely as popular activities.
42.5% of US mobile subscribers used downloaded apps in September 2011, rising 2% month-on-month and 7.6% from 39.5% the prior 3-month period ending June 2011, according to comScore Mobile Metrix data. Texting also continued its growth, inching up 2% quarter-over-quarter from 69.6% to 71.1% of subscribers, while browsers were used by 42.9% of subscribers (up 7% from 40.1%). Other activities seeing an increase in engagement from the prior 3-month period included accessing of social networking sites or blogs, which grew 8% from 29.1% to 31.5% of mobile subscribers, and game-playing, which was done by 28.8% of the mobile audience (up 7% from 26.9%). Furthermore, 20.9% of mobile subscribers listened to music on their phones (up 10% from 18.6% the prior month).
About the Data: The Pew study findings are based on a survey conducted from July 25 – August 26 among 2,260 adults ages 18 and over, including surveys in English and Spanish and on both landline and cell phones.
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