C&B Notes

Smartphones for Low-Income Earners

The demand for smartphones is relatively inelastic for younger generations.  The ability of companies to enhance and optimize the shopping, entertainment, education and other similar experiences for these devices (in whatever form they take in the future) will be a key aspect of the competitive landscape in a variety of industries.

The survey of 20,000 U.S. mobile customers found that smartphone ownership skews toward the young and the wealthy — exactly as you’d expect.

What is more surprising, however, is this nugget: smartphone penetration among young people in the lowest income bracket is higher than it is among older people in the wealthiest bracket.

Among 18- to 24-year-olds, more than half of respondents who make less than $15,000 each year said they own a smartphone. This might be explained if the parents of many college-age students footing their children’s phone bills.  Still, even in the next oldest, post-college age group, the percentage of those in the same income bracket who own a smartphone was a mere 13% lower.

Making less than $15,000 in a year doesn’t stop 43% of these 25- to 34-year-old mobile customers from paying for a smartphone.

Meanwhile, fewer than 20% of respondents older than 45 who make less than $15,000 said they owned a smartphone.

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