Some 35% of U.S. adults have software applications or “apps” on their phones, yet only 24% of adults use those apps. Many adults who have apps on their phones, particularly older adults, do not use them, and 11% of cell owners are not sure if their phone is equipped with apps.
Among cell phone owners, 29% have downloaded apps to their phone and 13% have paid to download apps.
“An apps culture is clearly emerging among some cell phone users, particularly men and young adults,” said Kristen Purcell, Associate Director for Research at the Pew Internet Project. “Still, it is clear that this is the early stage of adoption when many cell owners do not know what their phone can do. The apps market seems somewhat ahead of a majority of adult cell phone users.”
“This is a pretty remarkable tech-adoption story, if you consider that there was no apps culture until two years ago,” said Roger Entner, co-author of the report and Senior Vice President and Head of Research and Insights for Telecom Practice at Nielsen. “Every metric we capture shows a widening embrace of all kinds of apps by a widening population. It’s too early to say what this will eventually amount to, but not too early to say that this is an important new part of the technology world of many Americans.”
About the Survey
This report is based on a Pew Internet telephone survey of 2,252 U.S. adults age 18 and older, conducted by Princeton Survey Research International between April 29 and May 30, 2010. The sample included 1,917 adult cell phone users, 744 of whom were contacted on their cell phones. The margin of error is +/- 2.4 percentage points for results based on the total sample of adults, and +/- 2.7 percentage points for results based on cell phone users.
It also contains Nielsen data from an analysis of 3,962 adults (age 18+) gathered in the December 2009 Apps Playbook, an online, self-administered non-probability sample of apps downloaders originally identified in Nielsen’s Mobile Insights survey of cell phone subscribers identified through online panels. For more information, please see the methodology section.