Americans Own 238 Million Smartphones

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Four out of five U.S. households owned a smartphone at the end of 2016. In fact, given that there are about 126 total households in the United States, each household with a smartphone actually owns slightly more than two of the total 238 million smartphones in the country.

Americans own 27 million more smartphones now than they did a year ago, and the number of four other frequently owned tech devices also rose in the past year.

The data were reported today by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), a business group comprised of manufacturers and distributors of consumer electronics products and service providers whose offerings interoperate with a consumer electronics device.

Here’s the CTA’s list of the five consumer electronics devices most frequently owned by U.S. households, along with the group’s comments on year-over-year growth for each.

  1. Televisions: While household ownership remains steady at 96 percent owning at least one TV, the total number of units owned (308 million) decreased by three percent YOY [year over year], reflecting a very slight decrease in the number of TVs in use per household.
  2. Smartphones: With smartphones reaching a record level of household penetration (80 percent), they jumped solidly into second place among the country’s most frequently owned tech products; the total number of smartphones owned also increased significantly to 238 million (up 13 percent).
  3. DVD/Blu-ray players: After ranking second on this list for several years, household ownership levels dropped seven percentage points YOY (70 percent) and unit ownership fell 14 percentage points (142 million).
  4. Wired headphones and earbuds: With the addition of earbuds, household ownership of this category now sits at 70 percent, boosting this audio technology up one spot from last year’s report; these are the country’s most frequently owned tech product by unit (352 million).
  5. Notebooks, laptops or netbooks: While household ownership increased slightly (69 percent, up one percentage point), the category fell one spot in the rankings despite a 12 percent YOY jump in unit ownership.

The CTA also noted that 45% of U.S. households now have at least one vehicle with a driver-assistive safety or communications system, such as backup sensors, rearview cameras or hands-free calling.

The association’s senior director of market research, Steve Koenig, said:

Our research last year showed most consumers are excited about automated driving features and self-driving cars, but there’s still some hesitancy about the technology. This report is further evidence that, despite that wariness, more and more drivers want innovations that help keep them safer on the road. So, as a broader range of our driving tasks are automated via driving-assist technologies, eventually, riding in a self-driving car will be just an incremental step from the in-car tech we’ve all come to know and love.

The CTA noted as well the growth in the percentage of households (16%) that own a 4K UltraHD TV. Other emerging technologies include voice-activated digital assistants (such as Amazon Echo or Google Home), drones and virtual reality headsets.