57% of Americans Go Online With Cell Phone

According to a new survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, 63% of cell phone owners now go online using their mobile phones, an eight-point increase from the cell owners who did so at a similar point in 2012, and a two-fold increase over those who did so in 2009. Pew calls these individuals “cell internet users,” and they include anyone who uses the internet on their cell phone (60% of cell owners do this), or uses email on their cell phone (52% of cell owners do this).

Taken together, 63% of cell owners do one or both of these things, says the report, and are classified as cell internet users. Since 91% of Americans are cell phone owners, this means that 57% of all Americans now go online using a mobile phone. The steady increase in cell phone internet usage follows a similar growth trajectory for smartphone ownership. Over half of all adults (56%) now own a smartphone, and 93% of these smartphone owners use their phone to go online.

Almost Two-Thirds Of Cell Owners Go Online Using Their Phones (Among cell phone owners, the % who use the internet or email on their phone)

Year

Email

Internet

Total Cell/Internet

Apr 2009

25%

25%

32%

May 2010

34

38

43

May 2011

38

44

47

Apr 2012

44

53

55

May2013

52

60

63

Source:  Pew Internet & American Life, September 2013

In particular, says the report, the following groups have high levels of cell phone internet use:

  • Young adults: Cell owners ages 18-29 are the most likely of any demographic group to use their phones to go online. 85% of them do so, compared with 73% of cell owners ages 30-49, and 51% of those ages 50-64. Just 22% of cell owners ages 65 and older go online from their phones, making seniors the least likely demographic group to go online from a cell phone
  • Non-whites: 74% of African-American cell phone owners are cell internet users, as are 68% of Hispanic cell owners
  • The college-educated: 74% of cell owners with a college degree or higher are cell internet users, along with 67% of those who have attended (but not graduated) college
  • The financially well-off: 74% of cell phone owners living in households with an annual income of $75,000 or more per year are significantly more likely than those in every other income category to go online using their phones
  • Urban and suburban residents: Urban and suburban cell owners are significantly more likely to be cell internet users than those living in rural areas. 66% of urbanites and 65% of suburban-dwellers do so, compared to half of rural residents

The prevalence of cell phone internet usage increased across a number of demographic groups since April 2012. This includes men and women, whites and African-Americans, the college-educated, and those in the highest-income households. Notably, cell owners between the ages of 50 and 64 experienced a larger-than-average 15 percentage point increase in the past year. 51% of cell owners ages 50-64 now use their phone to go online, up from 36% who did so in the spring of 2012.

Considering which device the respondents use most often to access the internet, 34% of cell internet users say that they mostly use their cell phone rather than some other device such as a desktop or laptop computer. 53% of cell internet users say that they mostly go online from a device other than their cell phone, while 11% say that they use both their phone and some other device(s) equally. The “cell-mostly internet user” group represents 21% of the entire cell phone owner population.

Mobile Internet Access Points (% of cell internet users vs. all cell owners who say they “mostly” access the internet on their phone)

 

% of cell internet users

% of all cell phone owners

Go online mostly using cell phone

34%

21%

Go online mostly using some other device

53

34

Use cell phone and some other device equally to go online

11

7

Do not go online using a cell phone

n/a

37

Source:  Pew Internet & American Life, September 2013

The Pew Research Center has been tracking the “cell mostly internet user” phenomenon since 2011, and over that time adults, non-whites, the less educated, and the less affluent have said that they go online mostly using their cell phone at consistently high rates. This remains true in 2013:

  • Non-whites: Among those who use their phone to go online, six in ten Hispanics and 43% of African-Americans are cell-mostly internet users, compared with 27% of whites
  • Young adults: Half of cell internet users ages 18-29 mostly use their cell phone to go online
  • The less-educated: 45% of cell internet users with a high school diploma or less mostly use their phone to go online, compared with 21% of those with a college degree
  • The less-affluent: 45% of cell internet users living in households with an annual income of less than $30,000 mostly use their phone to go online, compared with 27% of those living in households with an annual income of $75,000 or more

For additional information from Pew Research, please visit here.

 

 

Recommend (4) Print RSS