November 2, 2011

Half of adult cell phone owners have apps on their phones

Part V. Paying for apps

Introduction

In May 2010, we found that among the one-third of adult cell phone users who downloaded apps, just under half (47%) had paid for an app at some point.  Put in broader context, that equated to 13% of all adult cell phone users paying to download an app to their phone in May 2010.  

The current survey again asked app downloaders (both cell phone and tablet) if they had ever paid for an app, or only download apps that are free.  If they had paid for an app, they were asked the highest dollar amount they had ever paid. 

As Figure 13 shows, 46% of adults who download apps report having paid for one at some point, which is statistically equivalent to the 47% who reported doing so in May 2010.  However, since the app downloading population as a whole has grown, that means that 16% of all U.S. adults have ever paid for an app, compared with 13% in May 2010.  This is a small but statistically significant increase.

Among those who have paid for apps, half (52%) report that the highest dollar amount they have paid for an app is $5 or less.  However, 17% have paid more than $20 for an app. 

As a percentage of all app downloaders (Figure 13), roughly one quarter say the highest dollar amount they have ever paid is $5 or less, and 8% have paid more than $20 for an app.  Figure 13 also shows that adults who download apps to a tablet are more likely to pay for apps, and also tend to pay more for their most expensive apps than those who download apps to cell phones.      

Figure 13: How many adults pay for apps?

Some demographic groups are more likely to pay for apps

Among app downloaders, the demographic groups most likely to pay for apps are men, adults age 30 and older, college graduates, adults with household incomes of $50,000 or more, and those living in urban communities. 

Figure 14: Some demographic groups are more likely than others to pay for an app

Cite this publication: Kristen Purcell. “Half of adult cell phone owners have apps on their phones.” Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C. (November 2, 2011) http://www.pewinternet.org/2011/11/02/half-of-adult-cell-phone-owners-have-apps-on-their-phones/, accessed on July 23, 2014.