Over 24% of College Students Own iPhones

By July 26, 2013 Blog 2 Comments

College is a time for luxurious living and trendy gadgets


by Tim Aaron
Aurnhammer Philosopher and Social Media Strategist

For many students across the US, college is a time for luxurious living. From days spent reliving the riveting rhapsodies of Homer to nights spent indulging the mind in focused, philosophical thought, college students live and breathe their first breaths of autonomous freedom and independence, many, even, on their parents’ dime. Inhabiting enlightening havens of liberty and premier instruction, many students delight in an additional luxury as well, namely, that of the luxurious mobile device. And with the number of college students that own smart mobile devices increasing daily, more and more are acclimating to a lifestyle of diverted device decadence. So, what does this mean for business?

Mobile devices, such as the iPhone, are platforms through which enterprises can engage prospective and already-established consumer bases.

If such enterprises were able to calculate the percentage of college students that own and operate such devices, they would be able calculate the potential reach of a marketing initiative targeting the college student demographic.

Since there has been little to no research done with regard to the percentage of college students that own iPhones, and since both college and iPhone demographics are often prudent populations to target, I took some numbers that have been researched and reported in the past and built upon them in a way that led to an approximation of the percentage of college students that own iPhone devices. Here is the logic behind my findings:

Number Crunch:

In 2012, 16% of iPhone users in the US were of college age, 18-22 years old.[1]

In 2012 there were 30+ million iPhone users in the US.[2][3]

Using these numbers to calculate the number of iPhone users in the US, ages 18-22: 30 million multiplied by .16 equals 4.8 million iPhone users, ages 18-22, in the US.

In the 2010 US census, there were approximately 20 million 16-20 year olds, resulting in approximately 20 million 18-22 year olds 2 years later, in 2012.[4]

Using the numbers we have accumulated to calculate an approximation of the percentage of iPhone users aged 18-22: 4.8 million (the number of iPhone users ages 18-22) divided by 20 million (the number of 18-22 year olds total) equals 0.24 or 24%, ie. the percentage of 18-22 year olds that own iPhones.


So, approximately 24% of 18-22 year olds in the US own iPhones, as of mid to late 2012. But is 24% a conservative or overzealous estimation for the percentage of US college students that own iPhones?

In our calculations, we used 30 million as the number of iPhone users in the US in 2012, which was a very conservative estimation. Since there are more than 30 million US iPhone users currently, and since 16% (the number iPhone users in the US that are 18-22 years old) of a number greater than 30 million results in more than 4.8 million 18-22 year old iPhone users in the US, the conclusion that 24% of 18-22 year olds own iPhones is a low approximation. Moreover, college students tend to come from more affluent families than those in their age group who are not matriculating. Therefore, it is fair to say that the percentage of US college students that own iPhones is likely to be significantly greater than the percentage of US 18-22 year olds in general that own iPhones.

A precise statistic on the percentage of college students that own iPhones would be ideal insight for advertising and marketing professionals seeking to engage the college student demographic. But for now, it is safe to say that significantly more than 24% of US college students own and operate iPhone devices.


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