Pew: Rise of smartphone crowding out other gadgets

Sixty-eight percent of U.S. adults now have a smartphone, while ownership of a number of other devices has dropped, according to a Pew Research survey released Thursday. 

Smartphone ownership has been on a rapid rise since 2011, and jumped another 4 percent from last year, according to the survey. 


With the exception of tablet computers, ownership of other devices such as game consoles, MP3 players, e-readers and even desktop and laptop ownership has dropped off somewhat, especially with young people. 

“Some of the changes in device ownership patterns are particularly evident for young adults,” Pew wrote in its report. 

As Pew points out, the drop in devices like e-readers and MP3 players is likely because smartphones have replaced their functions.

Laptop and desktop ownership has hovered around 72 percent for the past decade, but Pew found computer ownership with those under 30 years of age has dropped about 10 percent. At the same time, tablet computer ownership in that demographic has ballooned from 5 percent to 50 percent. 

Smartphone penetration rates have soared in the past few years and more than 90 percent of people own at least a cellphone. But there are still wide gaps in smartphone penetration related to income, education, community and age. 

Only about half of people in households making less than $30,000 a year own a smartphone, compared with 87 percent ownership in households making more than $75,000. 

Similarly, 41 percent of people who did not graduate high school own a smartphone, compared with 81 percent who have graduated college. 

And 52 percent of rural Americans own a smartphone, compared to about 70 percent ownership in urban and suburban areas. 

People over the age of 65 are the least connected. Only 30 percent own a smartphone. 

The smartphone data was collected in surveys conducted in June, while all other Pew data came from March and April surveys.