A Cell Phone Shutterbug Survey

Alison Young
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July 16, 2008
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These pictures were taken with the Click Chick's cell phone
These pictures were taken with the Click Chick’s cell phone

I used to carry my camera with me everywhere, but I became lazy and don’t want to lug too much in my purse. As much as I love my camera, I leave it at home unless I’m traveling or going out to a special event or party.

Sometimes it’s just nice to have the convenience of a decent cell phone camera. In fact, the accompanying photo is of my napping Senegal parrot Duncan. He fell asleep on my shoulder and I had to maneuver very slowly and carefully to reach for the nearest camera - my phone.

I know it seems obvious to say that cell phone camera usage is way up from perhaps a couple of years ago, but I thought the actual statistics released by Wirefly.com last week were interesting. The survey was done on cell phone camera phone usage, and it indicated that cell phones are the cameras of choice for young adults in the United States - 63.8 percent of users ages 18-30 say they use their cell phone’s camera at least once a week, while 26.3 percent reported using it daily. Those figures fall to 40.7 percent and 13.2 percent, respectively, for consumers over age 30. Additionally, about three out of four (73.5 percent) adults age 18-30 assign photo IDs to people in their address books, while 47.4 percent of the over-30 crowd do the same.

“Family events” and “scenery/sightseeing” remain the top reasons cited for using a camera phone, but social uses separated the younger adults from the over-30 crowd - 58.3 percent of cell phone users ages 18-30 report using a cell phone regularly “to document nightlife,” while just 29.9 percent of those over 30 made a similar claim. In addition, individuals ages 18-30 use their camera phones to publish photos to online social media four times as much as respondents over 30 years of age.

Other interesting results from the survey’s respondents:

* 96.3 percent of adult cell phone owners report that they have a cell phone with a camera. (No surprise here, since most cell phones now come with a camera.)
* 19 percent of adults prefer to use their cell phone as their primary camera for all photography.
* 77.2 percent of photos taken remain stored in the phone, 45.4 percent are used as wall-paper and 38.6 percent are sent to friends via MMS.
* 20.2 percent of respondents say they have snapped a photo of an attractive man/woman, and 7.5 percent have photographed an unsuspecting stranger.
* 46.4 percent of all adults and two-thirds of adults age 18-30 say they use their cell phone to snap self-portraits.
* 19.8 percent say they have snuck a picture while pretending to do something else.

“Sharing and social media are the drivers,” says Scott Ableman, Wirefly’s senior vice president of marketing. “Fifty-eight percent of adults age 18-30 tell us they use their camera phones to document nightlife, and one in five says they’ve published camera phone pictures to a social website or blog. It’s a more spontaneous kind of photography that’s perfectly suited for the cell phone, and as more low-priced and free phones come with quality cameras and high-speed Internet connections, all barriers have been removed.”

The data above was collected from a U.S.-based online survey and conducted from a pool of customers who purchased new wireless phones and service plans from Wirefly.com between May and June 2008. The respondents were 55 percent female and 45 percent male. Twenty-seven percent were ages 31-40, 17 percent were 24-30 and 8 percent were 18-23.

Just some food for thought the next time you pick up your cell phone camera to snap a picture ...


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