Majority of Americans Now Own Smartphones, New Study Shows

A study conducted by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project revealed that 91 percent of adults in the United States are known to own a cell phone, and 56 percent of all American adults are now known to own and use smartphones.

"This represents a mass societal shift to handheld devices that live on the mobile Web. It will have a profound effect on small and medium-sized business. Merchants that embrace mobile marketing will thrive. Those that don't will face increasingly harsh competition. It's the new Mobile Darwinism," Mobile App Source President Michael Berner says.

The growing popularity of smartphones correlates with an increase in buying power, resulting in significant implications for mobile marketing. According to the report, smartphone ownership is particularly high among younger adults, especially those in their 20s and 30s (although a majority of Americans in their mid-40s through mid-50s are now smartphone adopters) and those with relatively high levels of household income and educational attainment.

"In two years, business analysts will be referring to this period as the Great Smartphone Changeover," Berner says. "They will be examining businesses that thrived as a result of this shift, and those that experienced an epic fail. Smartphone owners are young in years and young at heart. They love new restaurants, they frequent favorite restaurants, they respond to text messages about sales in specialty stores. These people are avid shoppers and lifestyle enthusiasts. They reward mobile marketers with their business."

"The most important thing for marketers and entrepreneurs to know is that mobile marketing tactics—specifically mobile Web sites and mobile apps—are completely affordable," he adds. "The technology is not expensive or exotic. It's easy to find and easy to use. Thousands of successful small businesses of 2015 are investing in mobile marketing technology in 2013."

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