Smartphones common even the youngest adults

lumia 800Nielsen, one of the most authoritative sources when it comes to statistics and figures, released a study recently that profiled smartphone users and mapped that data against age and income. The result: smartphones have now penetrated youth markets, even those who don’t earn all that much.

According to Nielsen, even amongst those making less than $15,000 per year are likely to have a smartphone, with 56% of folks in this age group carrying around such a device. Going up a notch in age bracket to look at those aged 25-34, 43% of those in this age group carry a smartphone.

As you go up in age range, it’s apparent that those with limited income aren’t carrying smartphones as commonly as those who are young. However, when you look higher incomes and higher age ranges, smartphone penetration rises as smartphones are seen as a luxury device, not one of necessity as in the younger and poorer age group.

These youthful and income-limited groups are likely benefiting from low-cost mobile carriers such as T-Mobile’s contract-less plans, Virgin Mobile, MetroPCS and even Cricket. These carriers offer smartphones that are Internet-capable, connected to social networking and tied to email for a mere $40/month.

Nielsen didn’t go this far with their research, but I’d be very curious to go down even lower in age brackets and look at kids aged 13-17. For years, I’ve seen many in this age group carrying iPod Touches and now carrying entry-level smartphones as well. Also, as parents shed their older iPhones or other Android devices, their children are getting the phones as well.

What about your teenager – does he or she have a smartphone?