May 7, 2012 | by Andrew Kameka
The slow march to smartphone dominance is actually moving a tad faster these days. Nielsen’s “America’s New Mobile Majority” report reveals that for the first time, the U.S. mobile market has a smartphone majority.
As of March 2012, 50.4 percent of U.S. mobile phone subscribers owned a smartphone. That’s up from the 47.8 percent reported in December 2011. The boon in smartphone ownership is thanks primarily to Android and iOS. Apple sold enough iPhones to lockdown a combined 32 percent of the smartphone OS market, while the combined weight of Android manufacturers secured 48.5 percent. This just echoes a long trend of Android phones dominating, though the pace has slowed in light of the iPhone 4S strong sales.
The prevalence of Android phones and the falling cost of manufacturing has led to a large increase in smartphone ownership. At the beginning of 2011, smartphones accounted only for 30 percent of the mobile market. Smartphone penetration is highest among consumers ages 25 to 34; Nielsen says 2 out of 3 consumers in that age group have a smartphone.
Smartphone adoption among men and women are about the same, but women have a tiny higher rate – 50.9 percent compared to 50.1 percent. There’s also a tendency among African-Americans and Hispanics to be more likely to own a smartphone. Asians and Pacific Islanders reported the highest rate. Here are a couple of charts showing current smartphone OS share and adoption by ethnicity.