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Who’s Got Smartphones and Apps? Gen Y

February 1st, 2013 ::

By Rieva Lesonsky
It may not be a surprise, but Gen Y is leading the way when it comes to adoption of smartphones and smartphone and tablet apps, eMarketer reports. A study by Forrester, cited in eMarketer, found that consumers aged 24 to 32 are the most likely to own smartphones. Ninety-seven percent of Gen Y consumers have a mobile phone, and 72 percent have smartphones, higher than any other age group.

Overall, 93 percent of Americans owned mobile phones; however, only 50% have smartphones. Gen Z (age 18-23) was the second most likely group to own a smartphone, at 64 percent, followed by Gen X at 61 percent. After that, smartphone use declines rather drastically, with just 39 percent of younger boomers (47-56) owning them, 28 percent of older boomers (57-67) owning them, and 16 percent of those over 68 owning them.

Gen Y consumers are also more likely than any other age group to use smartphone and tablet apps, a different study by Flurry found. (This study defined Gen Y as 25 to 34.) Of the Gen Y users surveyed, 33 percent used smartphone apps and 26 percent used tablet apps. The 35-to-54 age group was next most likely to use apps.

You might be surprised that Gen Y are bigger users of smartphones than the younger generations, but eMarketer notes this group is in the “sweet spot” in terms of being old enough that they can afford more expensive smartphones, but young enough to want them and know how to make the most of them. In fact, the biggest reason younger customers cited for not having a smartphone was that they couldn’t afford it, while the top reason cited by older consumers was that they didn’t think it was useful or necessary for their lives.

What do these stats mean to you?

  • If your target market falls in the younger end of the spectrum, you’ll want to make sure your business website is mobile-friendly.
  • You’ll also want to consider developing useful, relevant and/or fun apps for your business that encourage sharing with friends.
  • Keep in mind that Gen Y is most likely to own iPhones, while in other age groups and overall, Samsung phones dominate.
  • Finally, keep in mind that Gen Y’s smartphone-dependency isn’t going away. As these customers move into their prime buying years, they’ll rely on their devices even more—so be ready to grow with them.

Image by Flickr user milesopie (Creative Commons)

The views expressed here are the author's alone and not those of Network Solutions or its partners.

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