Nielsen Data Shows US Smartphone Data Usage Soaring Amid Lower Consumer Costs

According to the latest data published Friday from Nielsen, US smartphone owners continue their love affair with mobile data.

“The mobile Data Tsunami,” writes Don Kellogg, Senior Manager, Telecom Research & Insights, Nielsen, “is still growing at an astounding pace.”

Based on monthly analysis of cellphone bills, smartphone owners are now consuming more data than at any time in the past on a per-user basis. “This has huge implications for carriers since the proportion of smartphone owners is also increasing dramatically,” Kellogg adds, noting that 37% of all mobile subscribers in the United States now have smartphones.

During the past year, Nielsen found that the amount of data the average smartphone user consumes every 30 days has ballooned by a whopping 89%.

Specifically, that’s up from 230 MB of data in Q1 2010 to 435 MB in Q1 2011.

A look at the distribution of data consumption is even more shocking: data usage for the top 10 percent of smartphone users (90th percentile) is up 109 percent while the top 1 percent (99th percentile) has grown their usage by an astonishing 155 percent from 1.8GB in Q1 2010 to over 4.6GB in Q1 2011.

Nielsen concludes in its research that growth in smartphone data usage is being overwhelmingly driven by “app-friendly operating systems.” Chief among the big drivers are Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. According to Nielsen, consumers with iPhones and Android smartphones consume the most data – 582 MBs/month for Android owners and 492 MBs/month for iPhone user.

To read the full report from Nielsen, click here.