Whites falling behind in smartphone usage, Nielsen study shows

After all the hoopla, the Apple’s iPhone debut on Friday more than lived up to expectations, with analysts estimating as many as 10 million sales by tomorrow and more than 130 million by the end of the year..

But there is a surprising quirk in the numbers.

More than half of American mobile subscribers — 55.5 percent — are now owners of smartphones of all types, but for white people, the numbers make up just 45 percent, the lowest of any ethnic group, new findings from Nielsen show.

Sixty-six percent of Asians, 56 percent of Hispanics and 55 percent of African-Americans use smartphones to check e-mail, play games and surf the Web.

The report seems surprising in light of data showing a widening economic gap between whites and minorities.

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One explanation for the higher smartphone penetration among minorities can be attributed to age. More young people buy smartphones than older people do — 66 percent of those ages 18 to 29 own them, compared with just 11 percent of those over 65. While the young minority population is quickly growing, 85 percent of the 40 million Americans over 65 are white.

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