Nielsen: Smartphone owners surpass 50 percent mark

Summary:Nielsen's latest insight into the mobile market show more than half of all U.S. mobile device users now own smartphones, with Android retaining the mobile operating system lead.

A Nielsen research survey shows more than half of all U.S. mobile subscribers owned smartphones during March, up from 47.8 percent in December.

During the first quarter, Nielsen said more 48 percent of all smartphone owners used Google's Android, followed by 32 percent using iOS. In its highest market share standing so far this year, Research in Motion polled in at more than 11 percent of the smartphone share market.

But Microsoft struggled to gain momentum with its new Windows Phone software, with more than 2 percent of users opting for the older Windows Mobile operating system.

The figures are not too distance from comScore's recent market share insights. The analytics firm said Google had 51 percent of the market, Apple had 30.7 percent, and the BlackBerry maker had more than 12 percent.

comScore's figures represent a three month average ending December 2011 and ending March 2012.

Nielsen's figures are generated from around 70,000 surveyed mobile users between January and March 2012.

It also said there was a 0.8 percent lead on female mobile smartphone owners compared to men. On the age front, it should probably come as no surprise that vast majority of Generation Y'ers aged 25 to 34 own a smartphone, pegged at more than two in three.

The research firm's ethnic group breakdown shows an increase in smartphone penetration, with Asian Americans leading the adoption race with 67.3 percent using a smartphone as their primary mobile device. Close to three in five Hispanic mobile users owning smartphones, and the majority of African-Americans use smartphones.

Image credit: Nielsen.


Topics: Hardware, Mobility, Smartphones


Zack Whittaker is a writer-editor for ZDNet, and sister sites CNET and CBS News. He is based in the New York newsroom. His PGP key is: EB6CEEA5.

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