Members of the Millennial generation, ages 18 to 30, remain more likely to access the Internet wirelessly with a laptop or mobile phone, but it appears the market geared toward younger teens still needs to mature, according to a recent study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project (and a recent experience of mine).
Older Internet users are still more likely than younger generations to search for certain types of information online, which is a little surprising to me. In fact, 87% of U.S. adults using the Internet also rely on search engines.
About 59% of American adults go online wirelessly, either through their smartphones or through a wireless card in their laptop. Adults age 45 and younger are the most likely to connect to the Internet with a laptop, cell phone, or other internet-connected mobile device, as 82% of Millennials and 71% of Gen X connect that way. Only 9% of the G.I. Generation go online wirelessly.
I observed the smartphone and wireless phenomenon last night while at dinner with a friend, his kids and their friends. When I asked the kids at the table, ages 14 and 15, to search on their smartphone for the price of the Logitech Google TV set-top box their parents had either blocked Internet access (a trust factor) or had no interest in searching online on their mobile phone. They mostly use their smartphones to take photos, make calls of text. A Pew report published earlier this year suggests teen girls, ages 14 to17, send the most text messaging, averaging 100 messages a day, compared with the youngest teen boys who average 20 messages per day.
Performics CEO Daina Middleton, who took time to speak with MediaPost from her home in Idaho, says similar to Japan, retailers will wake up when mobile in the U.S. becomes 10% of revenue.
The use of phones running Android and consumers using the iPhones has begun to increase searches, impressions and clicks on mobile devices. Performics, which supports search engine marketing (SEM), began "getting serious" about tracking mobile activity across clients several months ago. A peak in August of 8.3% led to a slight dip for the remainder of the year, but acceleration in overall volume continues. The company predicts 10% of overall clicks will come from mobile within three months, and about 16% should come from mobile devices throughout 2011, according to James Beveridge, Performics senior analyst.
While 2010 wasn't quite the year for mobile search, mobile impressions and clicks did surge in the fourth quarter, indicating 2011 could become mobile search's break-out year, Beveridge wrote in a blog post.
I agree with Beveridge when he tells me the use of search has become a research portal when shopping for products and services, especially during the holidays. The ability to use mobile search as a tool will continue to accelerate through 2011 and beyond.
What does your mobile search strategy look like, and how much of your advertising budget will you allocate toward mobile in 2011?