Over the past year, smartphone penetration increased from 52 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 to 60 percent of cell phone users in the same period last year, according to the Connected Intelligence Connected Home Report from IT research firm The NPD Group.
While fewer smartphone owners reported having an HTC, Motorola or BlackBerry device in the fourth quarter of 2013, Apple and Samsung were big winners as more consumers migrated to their flagship devices.
The report found iPhone ownership increased to 42 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 from 35 percent in 2012's fourth quarter. Likewise, Samsung Android phones increased to 26 percent of smartphones owned in the fourth quarter of 2013 from 22 percent owned in the fourth quarter of 2012.
"Considering the increase in prominence of smartphone music apps, it’s not surprising that hardware manufacturers such as Beats are leveraging partnerships with carriers, like AT&T to break into the streaming music market," John Buffone, executive director and industry analyst of Connected Intelligence, said in a statement. "This allows AT&T to offer subscribers more of what they want in the way of innovative music apps and provides Beats a partner capable of driving trial in a market where consumers already have an affinity for the music services they use."
The percent of smartphone owners that use an app to stream music increased from 41 percent in the last quarter of 2012 to 52 percent in 2013, with Pandora remaining the most commonly used music app in 2013, followed by iHeart Radio, Spotify, TuneIn Radio and Slacker Radio.
Indeed, a key driver in the increase in data usage has been the adoption of streaming music services like the ones mentioned above. Consumers’ data usage, which went from 5.5GB per month in the fourth quarter of 2012 to 6.6GB per month in the fourth quarter of 2013, according to the report.
Based on the results of a recent Gallup poll, smartphone ownership among the young is nearly universal (88 percent), and it is the most common device among this group.
All in all, the five devices that skew the youngest are smartphones, video game systems, Internet streaming services, iPod or MP3 players, and laptop computers. And the five devices that skew the oldest are satellite TV, cable TV, desktop computers, VCRs and basic cellphones.
A majority (61 percent) of Americans ages 65 and older own a basic cellphone, while a quarter own a smartphone. Older Americans are most likely to have older forms of technology, including cable TV (74 percent) and the now essentially obsolete VCR (74 percent).