Pew: Everyone Buys Android, Rich, Educated People Buy iPhones

A new Pew study says the majority of Americans now own smartphones and the majority of rich, educated adults own iPhones.

Smartphone use is on the rise and has surpassed feature phone use, the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project said in a June 5 report.

According to Pew data, 61 percent of cell phone owners either said that their phone is a smartphone or that it runs a smartphone platform. Given that 91 percent of the adult U.S. population now has some kind of cell phone, that puts the American adult smartphone-toting populace at 56 percent, as of May.

In February 2012, a similar study found 46 percent of adults to have smartphones, 41 percent to have feature phones and 12 percent to have no phone at all (versus the current 9 percent).

In 2011, 17 percent of adults still didn't have a mobile phone, 48 percent had feature phones and 35 percent had smartphones.

As has been the case throughout the years, said Pew, smartphone ownership is particularly high amongst those with relatively high levels of household income, those with educations and young adults—which is to say those in their twenties and thirties, though a "majority" of forty- and fifty-somethings are also smartphone adopters, said the report.

"Every major demographic group experienced significant year-to-year growth in smartphone ownership between 2012 and 2013," said the report, though folks aged 65 and older showed lower rates of adoption, compared with all other demographics.

More men than women have smartphones (59 percent versus 53 percent). More people who finish college have smartphones than people who didn't graduate (70 versus 60 percent). And city-dwellers are just as likely as people in the suburbs (59 percent, respectively) to be smartphone owners.

When it comes to mobile platforms, Pew's findings were consistent with analyst shipment reports—Android was the choice of the majority of smartphone owners (28 percent, up from 20 percent a year ago), followed by Apple iPhones (25 percent, up from 19 percent).

But uniquely, Pew delineated who is buying what.

"Cell phone owners from a wide range of educational and household income groupings have similar levels of Android adoption, but those from the upper end of the income and education spectrum are much more likely than those with lower income and education levels to say they own an iPhone," said the report.

"Indeed, fully half—49 percent—of cell phone owners with a household income of $150,000 or more say their phone is an iPhone," it continued.

Again in keeping with analyst-reported trends, Pew also found BlackBerry support to have fallen (to 4 percent, from 6 percent in 2012 and 10 percent in 2011) and Windows support to have dropped off by half—from the 2 percent in 2011 and 2012 to 1 percent in 2013.