44% of U.S. Mobile consumers now have a smartphone

According to Nielsen’s most recent monthly survey of 25,000 U.S. mobile consumers, 44% of them now own a smartphone, compared to just 18% two years ago. In Canada, comScore recently estimated smartphone ownership at 40%.

Young adults continue to be the leading age groups for smartphone penetration. Among 25-34 and 18-24 year old mobile users, smartphone ownership is now at 64% and 53% respectively.

Penetration among older age groups though has also more than double in the last two years. Penetration among 35-54 year old adults has risen from 19% in 2009 to 47% today. Among 35-54 year old adults, the percentage has risen from 10% to 25% in the last two years. Teens are also getting into the act with ownership rising from 16% in 2009 to 40% today.

In addition to greater level of ownership, the report finds the growing popularity of smartphones has led to a significant in increase in mobile video consumption and other rich media activies.

Download Nielsen’s complete 28 page Mobile Media Q3 2011 report

Nielsen reports that 31 million smartphone users use mobile video today, a 35% increase over a year earlier. The number of users downloading and playing games is up 83% and 95% respectively in the last year. Streaming online music or radio is now the third fastest growing activity among smartphone users.

The type of smartphone being used has also changed significantly in the last two years. IN 2009, RIM’s Blackberry was the most popular mobile device. Today Android devices account or 44.2% of the market, followed by Apple at 38.6% and RIM at 17.0%. Windows Phone 7 accounts for just 1.3% of the market.

Among Android devices, the most popular manufacturer was HTC followed by Samsung and Motorola.

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