Nielsen: More than 50 percent of teens now own a smartphone, fastest-growing sector

New research from Nielsen shows that 58 percent of 13 to 17 year olds living in the US now own a smartphone, a significant jump from 36 percent 12 months ago. Ownership is most prevalent, however, among those aged 25 to 34, standing at 74 percent, up from 59 percent a year ago.

As of July 2012, 55.5 percent of all mobile subscribers based in the US own a smartphone, Nielsen said. This marks an increase of 14.5 percent on a year earlier.

With teens clearly the fastest-growing group in smartphone take-up – and with plenty of growth still possible – we can expect to see mobile makers taking an even keener interest in the sector with marketing campaigns designed to win over the young consumers.

Among the various mobile operating systems, Android is still the market leader, with 51.9 percent of all US-based smartphone owners using an Android-powered device as of July 2012. When the figures are broken down to see who bought what during the last three months to July, the figure for Android is even higher – 58.6 percent.

Worryingly for Research In Motion, Android’s recent growth appears to have been at the expense of its BlackBerry devices. According to Nielsen’s research, BlackBerry smartphone ownership now stands at just 8 percent of all US-based smartphone owners, with the figure dropping to just 2.7 percent for those who purchased a smartphone in the last three months. The grim figures highlight the enormity of RIM’s task of rejuvenating its business with the launch of its next-generation OS, BlackBerry 10, although this won’t be happening until at least early 2013.

Of smartphone purchases made in the last three months, 58.6 percent opted for an Android-powered device, while 33 percent went for the iPhone. The figures for Apple’s iOS device may have been skewed by the fact that many of those keen on getting an iPhone are choosing to wait until the launch of the new model, expected to be unveiled by Tim Cook on Wednesday.

In its research, Nielsen questioned more than 20,000 US-based mobile subscribers aged 13 and over.

[Image: Peter Sobolev / Shutterstock]

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