Americans and Their Cell PhonesCell phones have grown to be a great tool for seeking information and communicating: 83% of adult Americans own some type of mobile phone. These devices have an affect on many facets of their owners’ everyday life. In the telephone survey carried out for a whole month in 2011 among a un-biased sample of Americans, the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project discovered that, throughout the thirty days before the interview:

  • Cell phones are helpful for convenient information retrieval (so much in fact that their absence may cause problems) – Fully half of all adult cell phone owners (51%) had used their phone at least one time to obtain information they needed immediately. A quarter (27%) asserted they experienced a situation in the last month that they had trouble doing something since they didn’t have their phone available.
  • Cell phones are an essential tool in emergencies – 40% of cell phone owners said they found themselves in a desparate situation where having their mobile phone with them helped.
  • Cell phones might help prevent boredom – 42% of cell phone owners used their mobile phone for entertainment whenever they were bored.
  • In spite of their benefits, some mobile phone owners only need an occasional break – 29% of cell phone owners turned their device off for a time period simply to get a break from using it.
  • With benefits comes frustration – 20% of cell phone owners experienced frustration because their phone was taking too much time to download something; 16% struggled reading something on their own phone since the screen was not big enough; and 10% struggled entering lots of text on their mobile phone.
  • Cell phones might help prevent unwanted personal interactions – 13% of cell phone owners pretended being on their phone to prevent interacting with the folks around them.

Americans and Cell Phone HabitsYoung adults (those between 18 and 29 years old) are particularly prone to state that they’ve encountered a number of these situations recently:

  • 70% of 18-29 year-old cell phone owners used their phone for amusement whenever they were bored.
  • 64% used their phone to swiftly retrieve information they needed.
  • 42% have experienced difficulty doing something since they didn’t have their phone nearby.
  • 30% used their cell phone to avoid interacting with the individuals around them.

Text messageing and picture taking tend to be the most typical uses of cell phones outside of regular phone calls; Smartphone owners make the most of an array of features on their phones’ capabilities.

Texting and picture taking still top the list of ways that Americans use their mobile phones – Three quarters of cell phone owners (73%) use their phones for each one of these purposes. Other fairly common actions include sending photos or videos to other people (54% of cell owners do that) in addition to accessing the web (44%).

One third of American adults (35%) possess a smartphone of some type, and these consumers make the most of a variety of capabilities using their phones’ capabilities. Fully 9 in 10 smartphone owners use texting or take pictures using their phones, while 8 in 10 use their phone to go surfing the web or send photos or videos to other people. Many other actions such as downloading apps, watching videos, accessing social network sites or publishing multi-media content online are nearly entirely limited to the smartphone populace.

Pew Research Center Study


A number of market groups make use of the non-voice features of their cell phones at high rates. Included in this are young adults, non-whites, urbanites, and people with a minimum of some college.

Relating to this survey:

The results documented here are primarily based on a nationwide telephone survey of 2,277 adults conducted in 2011. There are other studies which are more recent, but non are as extensive and detailed.  With technology improving each and every day it is certain that the next study performed by Pew Research Center will reveal some different results.