Smartphone Owners Likely Wealthier; Gender Gap to Widen

August 22, 2012

This article is included in these additional categories:

Boomers & Older | Household Income | Men | Mobile Phone | Telecom | Women | Youth & Gen X

opa-smartphone-users-by-hhi-august2012.pngSmartphone users tend to come from higher-income households, according to [pdf] a joint survey by the Online Publishers Association (OPA) and Frank N. Magid Associates. 53% of smartphone users responding reported having a household income (HHI) of more than $50,000, compared to 41% of the total respondent sample. This includes 17% of smartphone users who have an HHI of more than $100,000, compared to 12% of the general sample.

Data released earlier in August by comScore shows smartphone owners to be even more likely to come from higher-income households. According to that study, one-third of smartphone owners have an HHI of more than $100,000, and slightly more than two-thirds have an HHI of at least $50,000.

Gender Gap to Widen

Details from the OPA’s “Portrait of a Smartphone User” indicate that while the gender gap in smartphone ownership has narrowed of late, it looks as though it will soon widen again. The survey finds that the current split is 52% male, 48% female. The gap in ownership was wider in 2011, though, at 54% male, 46% female. Even so, among the 13% of respondents who plan to purchase a smartphone in the next 12 months, 58% are male.

These figures contrast with estimates released last year from Compete, which reported that at some point in early 2011, women took the lead in adoption share over men.

Smartphone Users Trending Older

The data regarding the gender gap in smartphone ownership may be mixed, but the OPA study shows a clear trend towards an older user base. The share of smartphone users aged 35 and older rose 5% points from 2011 to 2012, to 45%. 21% of smartphone users fall between 35 and 44 years old, 15% are 45-54, and 8% are 55-64.

New smartphone buyers also skew older. This year, 32% of new buyers are aged 45-64 – far higher than the 23% of current users in that age bracket.

1 in 3 Say Smartphones Indispensable

When asked to check off all media without which they would not be able to live, respondents named PCs and laptops most often (67%), followed by TV (62%). Mobile phones were third, at 56% of respondents, with that number divided between smartphones (33%) and feature phones (23%). It is important to note that this question was asked of the entire survey sample, of which 44% own smartphones, meaning that three-quarters of these smartphone owners find their devices to be indispensable.

According to Arbitron and Edison Research survey results from April, a whopping 91% of smartphone owners say their device is within arm’s length either always (60%) or most of the time (31%).

About The Data: The Online Publishers Association (OPA) collaborated with Frank N. Magid Associates, Inc. for data analysis and insight. Data comes from a nationally representative online survey of 2,540 internet users between the ages of 8 and 64. The sample is matched to the US Census with regard to age and gender. Data was collected from March 19 through March 26, 2012. A third-party online research panel and data collection firm was used for recruitment and data collection.


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