Prepare to be astonished: On average Americans spend 2.7 hours per day using mobile Internet, with 91% using it for social purposes, according to a survey by Ruder Finn, a global PR agency. Breaking down the usage patterns, 62% use the mobile Internet to send or receive instant messages, 58% email, and 45% post comments on social networks (among other activities tracked by the survey).
First of all, I find the figure of 2.7 hours to be remarkably -- perhaps even implausibly -- high. Sure mobile Internet use is popular, and getting more popular -- anyone who goes to a media conference can't fail to notice that. But 2.7 hours per day?
My god, where is everyone doing this?
Imagining a half-hour commute each way, plus half an hour at lunch, that's still just 1.5 hours on the mobile Internet. Do people then go home and spend another 72 minutes on the mobile Internet? Frankly, I am skeptical about this number, especially since according to Nielsen the average American spends a total 68 hours on the Internet per month, or about 2.3 hours per day. Either Nielsen was off by over 50%, or something else is amiss.
Any statisticians or demographers out there care to speculate about what the issue might be?
However, setting aside the hourly numbers, the Ruder Finn (I'm picturing a belligerent Lapp) study seems more plausible in suggesting the usage patterns for the mobile Internet, and specifically the intent of the user -- meaning, their goal in getting online -- which was the study's main thrust anyway. In this area it's interesting to note the large number of people who use mobile Internet to get on social networks to post comments (45%) or "Connect to people on social networking sites" (43%).
In a way this makes perfect sense, as mobile devices are above all designed for communication on the go, and human beings are naturally social animals (well, except me). But given all the issues which unfortunately still seem to attend mobile Internet -- dodgy coverage, slow connections, compatibility problems -- it's a testament to the draw of social media that nearly half of people will get online with the main goal of posting comments on a social network site. That has to equal a lot of time cursing at your phone just so you can write something snarktastic on MediaPost.