The share of adult cell phone owners who have downloaded an app nearly doubled in the past two years—from 22% in September 2009 to 38% in August 2011—according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. When adults whose phones came preloaded with apps are also accounted for, fully half of U.S. adult cell phone owners (50%) now have apps on their phones. In May 2010, that figure stood at 43%.
The survey also finds that among the 10% of adults who currently own a tablet computer, three-quarters (75%) report downloading apps to their tablet. This translates to 8% of all U.S. adults.
These findings are from a survey conducted from July 25-August 26 among 2,260 adults ages 18 and over, including surveys in English and Spanish and on both landline and cell phones. The margin of error for the total sample is plus or minus 2 percentage points.
Other key findings:
The most commonly downloaded apps are those that provide regular updates about everyday information such as news, weather, sports, or stocks (74% of downloaders)
Also popular are apps that help people communicate with friends and family (67%) and apps that help the user learn about something in which they are interested (64%)