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Global Media Intelligence 2020: United States

Key Features

Smartphones, smart TVs, and smartwatches posted the only significant gains in device ownership in H1 2020.

  • Smartphone ownership in the US is finally achieving a level one would expect in a leading digital nation. According to GlobalWebIndex, 94.9% of internet users ages 16 to 64 polled in H1 2020 owned a smartphone, compared with 91.9% in H1 2019.
  • Smart TV ownership also climbed 3 percentage points to 46.2% of internet users this year. Yet the US does lag several other developed nations by this measure. In the UK, for example, 49.6% of respondents said they owned a smart TV in H1 2020; in Spain and Germany, those shares were 50.1% and 50.8%, respectively.
  • Meanwhile, penetration of some key devices declined in the US between H1 2019 and H1 2020. The share of survey respondents who owned a desktop or laptop slipped from 78.5% to 76.6%, while tablet ownership dropped from 51.1% to 49.4%. This was a pattern repeated in numerous countries surveyed by GlobalWebIndex.
  • Smartwatches did gain fans during the year, lifting penetration to 15.2% of internet users. More than 10% of respondents owned a smart wristband, and nearly 20% owned a smart home product, such as an energy consumption monitor. Affluent internet users and those ages 16 to 34 were most likely to own a smartwatch; affluents and suburbanites were most likely to have a smart home device.
  • Several other digital devices seemed neither more nor less popular than in H1 2019. These included games consoles (cited by 38.8%) and TV streaming sticks (34.9%).


Karin von Abrams


Anam Baig
Senior Editor
Joanne DiCamillo
Donte Gibson
Chart Editor
Kathleen Hamblin
Chart Editorial Manager
Dana Hill
Director of Production
Erika Huber
Copy Editor
Magenta Ranero
Senior Chart Editor
Hilary Rengert
VP, Research Strategy
Amanda Silvestri
Senior Copy Editor
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