Monday, April 22, 2024

Mobile Internet Use Climbs Dramatically

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Pew Internet & American Life Project revealed new statistics that could have a profound impact on how websites are built in the near future.

According to the group’s survey, 88 percent of adults in the United States own a cell phone and 55 percent of them are using their handsets to go online. Pew points out that this is a 24 percent increase over the 31 percent of cell phone owners that admitted to doing so three years ago. The results were compiled from the responses of 2,254 adults, age 18 and over.

Given the proliferation of touch-enabled smartphones with generous screen sizes in recent years, plus network speeds that are slowly creeping ever upward, Pew’s findings are revelatory, if not shocking.

Furthermore, there is one surprising statistic that points to a new breed of mobile die-hards.

Pew has discovered that for a significant minority of cellphone owners, 17 percent, their handsets are their primary Internet access device — supplanting alternatives like notebook PCs.

Of these cellphone owners, 38 percent cite the convenience factor as the main reason for using the internet on their phones. Twenty three percent said that their phones were always with them.

Age also plays a role. It turns out that the younger the user, the likelier it is that a cellphone serves as an Internet access device.

Pew writes, “Other age groups with high levels of cell phone Internet usage include young adults ages 18-24 (75 percent of cell owners in this age group use their phones to go online) and those ages 35-44 (68 percent).” Those 65 years of age or older are present in “modest numbers,” just 16 percent according to Pew.

Other highlights include:

  • Forty-five percent of 18-29 year-olds who use the Internet on their cell phones use them for most of their online browsing.
  • Ten percent of “cell-mostly” Internet users cite a lack of other access.
  • Don’t count the PC out. Of cell Internet users, 60 percent mostly go online using another device like a laptop or tablet.
  • Women are closing the gap with men on cellphone Internet use at 54 percent and 57 percent, respectively. In 2009, there was an 8 percent difference, with women consisting of 27 percent of cell phone Internet users and men making up 35 percent.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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