Half of Mobile Phone Owners Always Have Their Device Within Arm’s Length

April 4, 2013

This article is included in these additional categories:

Boomers & Older | Digital | Mobile Phone | Social Media | Youth & Gen X

ArbitronEdisonResearch-Mobile-Phone-Proximity-Apr2013Research showing consumer addiction to mobile phones continues to filter in. Here’s another stat to add to the arsenal: according to [download page] a new study from Arbitron and Edison Research, 52% of mobile phone owners always keep their device within arm’s reach, and another 30% do so most of the time. And more Americans aged 12 and up use a cell phone (30%) than a dedicated alarm clock (22%) or clock radio (15%) to wake up in the morning. That rises to 59% among Americans aged 18-34.

The study reveals that smartphone penetration continues to steadily rise, up from 44% of Americans aged 12 and up last year to 53% this year. (Recent comScore estimates indicate that 55% of mobile phone subscribers owned a smartphone during the 3-month average ending in January 2013, up from 42.7% the previous year.)

Over the past year, smartphone penetration has grown most quickly among older groups, according to the Edison Research and Arbitron study, with these demos tending to have the most “catching up” to do. But, penetration is up across all age groups, including:

  • 11% growth among 12-17-year-olds (60% vs. 54%);
  • 14% growth among 18-24-year-olds (75% vs. 66%);
  • 16% growth among 25-34-year-olds (74% vs. 64%);
  • 28% growth among 35-44-year-olds (69% vs. 54%);
  • 24% growth among 44-54-year-olds (51% vs. 41%);
  • 26% growth among 55-64-year-olds (34% vs. 27%); and
  • 55% growth among the 65+ group (17% vs. 11%).

The most popular activities on smartphones, per the report, are making or receiving calls (97%), sending or receiving text messages (94%), taking pictures (90%), browsing the internet (83%) and using social networking sites (63%), with QR code scanning (21%) on the other end of the spectrum of identified activities.

Sorting by daily usage, the top 2 activities remain the same, but browsing the internet (61%) and using social networking sites (46%) leapfrog taking pictures (39%).

About the Data: In January/February 2013, Arbitron and Edison Research conducted a national telephone survey offered in both English and Spanish language (landline and cell phone) of 2,021 people aged 12 and older. Data were weighted to national 12+ population figures.


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