The growing use of smartphones for managing all aspects of digital life is a pertinent issue for the entire audio industry. A newly-released study from the Pew Research Center defines the smartphone usage footprint across age groups, and tracks how music/podcasts are consumed.
Smartphone ownership is now at 64% across the U.S., but the devices seem most closely connected to younger people. The 18-29 age group reported 85% smartphone ownership, followed by the 30-49 group at 79% before a steep drop to 54% in the 50-64 age group. Pew also found that 15% of the 18-29 group is heavily dependent on their phones for going online, making it one of three demographics that are most tied to their phones for web access.
We’ve seen other research backing the trend that mobile is of increasing importance as a listening platform, and the Pew data joins that chorus. And as with overall smartphone ownership, the use of mobile for music and podcasts also skews young. 64% of the 18-29 age group used their phones for music at least once during the week’s worth of surveys. The average across age groups was 41%, thanks to a 39% use of phones for music among the 30-49 age group and just 21% in the over 50 age group.
Music ranked as one of the smartphone activities that had the strongest bias toward younger demographics. Social networking and watching videos were also most strongly the domain of the young.