CHART: Income Drives Mobile Usage Patterns

In a recent report, BI Intelligence Executive Editor Henry Blodget predicted U.S. smartphone penetration will begin to slow among younger and wealthier users, who for the most part have already abandoned feature phones. That points to an increasing segmentation of the U.S. smartphone market between earlier, wealthier adopters and late-arriving consumers who will mostly be older or earn lower incomes. 

Recent data from Nielsen shows income also drives wide gaps in mobile usage. Those who access location-based services, use apps, and surf the mobile Internet are more likely to earn higher incomes. For example, 36% of higher income consumers said they use location-based services (LBS), compared to 25% of mid-level earners, and 20% of lower income consumers. 

Nielsen explains that in part these differences in usage are linked to higher income consumers purchasing more expensive, fully featured devices equipped to handle relatively sophisticated apps. Finally, Nielsen says high income users prefer weather and news apps, while lower income consumers favour gaming. 

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