Smartphone Owners: The Whitest Kids U' Know


The Pew Research Center last week released its annual report on how Americans are using their mobile phones. The study found six in 10 U.S. adults now access the Internet wirelessly by laptop or cell phone and that use of mobile data services including taking pictures, playing games, text messaging and playing music is on the rise.

It also pointed out that African-Americans and English-speaking Latinos continue to be the most active mobile Web users outpace whites in mobile phone ownership (87% compared to 80%). Blacks and Hispanics are also more avid mobile data users than whites. One thing the Pew report didn't break out was demographic data among smartphone versus feature phone owners.

As regular phones have increasingly added non-voice features to become more smartphone-like, the line between the two types of handsets has increasingly blurred. (A smartphone is still generally defined as a mobile phone with an operating system.) But when it comes to the iPhone, Android and BlackBerry, the demo profile is still very monolithic -- white, male, youngish and affluent. Here's a look at the typical users for five major smartphone platforms based on comScore data. For each, it shows audience by gender, and predominant age, income and ethnic group.


Male: 60.5%

Female: 39.5%

Age: 25-34 (34.3%)

Income: $100,000 + annually (47.1%)

Ethnicity: White (74.4%)


Male: 58.2%

Female: 41.9%

Age: 25-34 (26.1%)

Income: $100,000 + (42.7%)

Ethnicity: White (74.4%)


Male: 57.5%

Female: 42.5%

Age: 25-34 (29%)

Income: $100,000 + (35.1%)

Ethnicity: White (75.4%)

Windows Mobile

Male: 64.8%

Female: 35.2%

Age: 25-34 (26.8%)

Income: $100,000 + (35.6%)

Ethnicity: White (77.5%)

Palm (WebOS)

Male: 57.2%

Female: 42.8%

Age: 25-34 (29.6%)

Income: $100,000 + (33.4%)

Ethnicity: White (77.1%)

So there's still a digital divide when it comes to smartphones. Marketers may salivate over targeting smartphone owners, but to reach a more diverse mobile audience, they still need to look more widely to feature phones.

In a study last month, comScore found that while the number of U.S. smartphone users accessing the Web and using apps has tripled in the last year, feature phone users still make up nearly half of all users accessing mobile browsers and apps. Mark Donovan, comScore senior vice president of mobile, emphasized brands should keep in mind both channels when building their mobile strategies.

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