February 3, 2017

U.S. Smartphone Penetration Surpassed 80 Percent in 2016

Adam Lella
Senior Marketing Insights Analyst

A lot has been written about how extraordinary the year 2016 was, and there’s a good chance you read some of those articles, tweets and Facebook posts on your smartphone. That’s because 2016 was also the year that smartphone adoption surpassed 80% of all mobile phone owners. This milestone was reached in July, and that rate has since inched up to 81% in December.

While this statistic tells us what we already knew – that smartphones are everywhere – it gives us some perspective as to how prevalent these devices have become since they first began to gain adoption a little more than a decade ago. Five years ago that penetration figure was roughly half of what it is today at 42%, and it’s hard to believe that when the iPhone was first introduced in 2007, only 6% of the population had smartphones.

Of course, we are now well past its growth phase, and gains in smartphone ownership have slowed down the last couple of years. The remaining uncaptured market is largely made up of technology laggards who don’t necessarily have a high likelihood of ever making the switch unless a free smartphone that doesn’t carry higher monthly subscriber fees is put in their hands.

For more insights on how pervasive smartphone usage has become in today’s digital world, check out our 2016 U.S. Mobile App Report today.

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