02_Elements/Icons/ArrowLeft Back to Insight
Insights > Media

It’s Thanksgiving, Please Pass the Smartphone!

3 minute read | November 2015

With Thanksgiving drawing near, people are making plans to enjoy a delicious meal while spending time with family and friends. Not to be overlooked, the ubiquitous best friend of these gatherings may just be the smartphone.

Whether it be taking pictures of gatherings around the dinner table, posting pictures and tweets to social networking sites, looking up recipes for the best ingredient for a holiday dessert or checking the score of the football game, the number of uses for smartphones are just as varied as individual family traditions on this day. In fact, according to Nielsen’s Connected Devices report for the third quarter of 2015, four-fifths of people in the U.S. report having smartphones.

According to Nielsen Mobile Insights, ownership is up 8%, compared to third-quarter 2014. Insights from Nielsen’s People Meter Panel also showed that tablet penetration has also seen growth year-over-year. As of the third-quarter 2015 39% of people in the U.S. reported owning tablets, a 30% increase from third-quarter 2014!

While smartphones may be a welcome guest at the Thanksgiving table, they wouldn’t be complete without apps—the technological gravy to this digital course! Insights from Nielsen Mobile Netview found that in October 2015, the most popular app categories based on time spent per month are search engines, portals, and social networking apps with 16 hours and two minutes, entertainment apps at 13 hours and 27 minutes and communication apps at 4 hours and 39 minutes. 

In fact, friends and family are the primary way that 38% of connected device users discover content on media sites according to Nielsen’s third-quarter Connected Devices Report. Fortunately, Thanksgiving provides no shortage of opportunities for passing phones around the table and sharing content, in addition to passing the salt and pepper! The second most popular way that people find content is searching on their own device (29%), followed by browsing the app store (22%).

After a big meal and a nice visit, connected devices are the essential partner for providing entertainment and recreation to the weary traveler on their way back home. When it comes to viewing Internet videos on a connected device, consumers are most likely to watch TV shows that they missed on TV (49%), followed by watching videos that accompany a paid service (39%) and watching short videos (36%). 


The insights from Nielsen’s Mobile Connected Device Report for third-quarter 2015 was an online English-language survey, gathered from a general population sample of those aged 13+ and with 8,223 respondents who own a tablet, smartphone or streaming-capable device. All numbers reflect self-reported data.

Nielsen’s Electronic Mobile Measurement (EMM) is an observational, user-centric approach that uses passive metering technology on smartphones to track device and application usage on an opt-in convenience panel. Results are then reported out through Nielsen Mobile NetView 3.0. Nielsen’s on-device software, which is installed with permission on panelist smartphones (approximately 9,000 panelists ages 18+ with Android and iOS handsets). The panelists are recruited online in English and include Hispanic, African-American, Asian-American, Native American and Alaskan Native, and other mixed racial background consumer representation.

Nielsen Mobile Insights is a monthly survey of approximately 30,000 U.S. mobile subscribers. Data is primarily collected online among respondents aged 13+, with a supplemental Spanish-language version conducted via telephone among Hispanic respondents (age 18+). All data is self-reported and weighted to be nationally representative of the U.S. mobile subscriber population.

The National People Meter Panel (NPM) measures persons ages 2+ and is the industry standard for TV Ratings. Tablet penetration was calculated projecting the number of tablets in the household to a total device number among persons 18+.

Continue browsing similar insights

Our products can help you and your business

  • Consumer & Media View

    Access syndicated and custom consumer research that will help you shape successful brand, advertising and marketing…

  • NCSolutions

    Maximize CPG advertising effectiveness with data to better segment, optimize and enable sales-based outcomes.