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Gadgets -For Everyday Photography, Cell Phones Becoming Camera of Choice

July 08, 2008

For Everyday Photography, Cell Phones Becoming Camera of Choice

By Eve Sullivan
TMCnet Editor
A new behavioral survey on consumer camera phone usage shows significant penetration of cell phones as the camera of choice for young adults in the United States.
Thousands of adult cell phone users in the country were interviewed for the survey, which was conducted by, a provider of one-stop comparison shopping for cell phones and wireless phone plans.
“Camera phones are taking over, and it’s being driven by young adults,” said Scott Ableman, Wirefly’s senior vice president of marketing. “High-quality cell phone cameras haven’t been around that long, yet nearly one in five cell phone buyers tell us that their cell phone is their primary camera.”

The survey illustrates the growth and increasingly diverse uses of cell phone cameras, and shows that 45.9 percent of respondents report using their cell phone cameras at least once a week – with many saying they snap a photo with their cell phone every day.
Frequency of camera phone use is even greater with young adult consumers, with 63.8 percent of adults age 18-30 saying they use their cell phone’s camera at least once a week and 26.3 percent reporting daily use. Those figures fall to 40.7 percent and 13.2 percent, respectively, for consumers over the age of 30. Also, nearly three out of every four (73.5 percent) adults age 18-30 assign photo IDs to people in their address book, while just 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 younger adults from the over-30 crowd. The survey says 58.3 percent of cell phone users age 18-30 report using a cell phone regularly ‘to document nightlife,’ while 29.9 percent of those over 30 made a similar claim. In addition, those age 18-30 use their camera phones to publish photos to online social media four times as much as respondents over 30 years of age.
“Sharing and social media are the drivers,” said Ableman. “Fifty-eight percent of adults age 18-30 tell us they use their camera phones to document nightlife, and one in five say 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.”
According to the survey, 96.3 percent of adult cell phone owners report that they have a cell phone with a camera, 19 percent prefer to use their cell phone as their primary camera, 77.2 percent of photos taken remain stored in the phone, 45.4 percent are used as wallpaper and 28.6 percent are sent to friends via MMS.
Twenty percent of respondents say they have snapped a photo of an attractive person, 7.5 percent have photographed an unsuspecting stranger and 46.4 percent of all adults and 2/3 of adults 18-30 say they use their cell phone to snap self portraits. The survey also says 19.8 percent of respondents say they have snuck a picture while pretending to do something else and 13.9 percent report they have sent a flirtatious, suggestive or nude photo – a figure that rises to 28.1 percent age 18-30.
The survey was conducted from an opt-in pool of customers who had purchased new wireless phones and new service plans from during May and June 2008. The sample of 2,102 respondents was 55 percent female and 45 percent male; 48 percent of respondents were over 40; 27 percent were 31-40, 17 percent were between the ages of 24-30, and 8 percent were 18-23.

Eve Sullivan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Eve’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

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