Arbitron: Younger People Cut The Cord, Become Cell Phone-Only Users
The study, which was presented Tuesday at the ARF's and ESOMAR's Worldwide Audience Measurement Conference in Montreal, found that such cell phone-only users are younger and male, and index much higher among African-Americans and Asians than the general population.
The telephone-based study, conducted in October 2004, was deemed relatively small by Arbitron, and therefore is not representative of the overall population. But the study, which sampled 7,500 dedicated users in five markets, found that 23.3 percent of them considered themselves to be cell phone-only users, while a corresponding 23.1 percent said they had a land line available to them, but primarily used their cell phones.
The findings are important, because many believe that cell phone-only individuals are growing rapidly--and their behavior is beginning to influence how they use other media, as well as how marketing and media researchers measure them. Among other things, federal law prohibits market researchers from utilizing so-called random digit dialing phone survey techniques for mobile phones, a popular method of marketing research.
During their presentation in Montreal, Arbitron executives announced another study utilizing 1,500 diaries that would measure the radio listening behavior of cell phone-only users to determine whether there are profound differences in the way they use radio versus the general population. Those results are expected to be released at the 2006 WAM conference.
Age Skews of Cell Phone-Only Individuals in Arbitron's Study
Age Percentage of Sample Index to Universe
18-24 23.2% 189
25-34 20.2% 112
35-44 21.1% 101
45-55 19.1% 95
56+ 16.3% 57
Source: Arbitron. How to read: Of the 857 completed interviews of respondents called on their cell phones, 23.2% were ages 18 to 24.