NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- While mobile apps play an important role in smartphone buying decisions, the programs are used mostly by the young, males and the affluent, according to a new survey.

About 69% of U.S. smartphone users downloaded a mobile app as of October 2010, according to a report from Ask.com and Harris Interactive.

Almost 75% of men surveyed said they had downloaded a mobile app, compared to 62% of women.

Smartphone users ages 35 to 44 were the most likely to download apps, followed by those ages 18 to 24.

And the most affluent survey respondents -- those making more than $100,000 per year -- were more likely to say they had downloaded an app over any other income group.

The release of the Verizon ( VZ) iPhone, as well as a deluge of Google ( GOOG) Android phones debuting this year, could help make mobile apps more mainstream as smartphones get into the hands of more users.

About 73.3 million people in the U.S. -- some 31% of mobile users -- own a smartphone, according to eMarketer. Around 43% of mobile users are expected to own a smartphone by 2015.

Shares of Verizon were up 0.25% to $35.45 in afternoon trading Wednesday.

Shares of Google rose 0.11% to $616.70.

--Written by Olivia Oran in New York.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/Ozoran.

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