Users Prefer To Access Internet Via Smartphones

Forget phone calls. Smartphones have become the preferred means of accessing the Internet, according to Pew Research Center.

Today, 37% of U.S. adults say they rely “mostly” on their smartphone for accessing the Web -- up significantly from 19% in 2013, according to Pew.

Less surprisingly, younger adults are most likely to rely on their phones to surf the Web.

Nearly 60% of consumers 18 to 29 years of age say they “mostly” go online through their smartphone -- up from 41% in 2013.

For their part, adults ages 30-to-49 who say they mostly use a smartphone to go online have nearly doubled from 24% in 2013 to 47% today. Consumers’ preference for their phones for the purposes of going online is even cutting into the home broadband business.

While a majority of U.S. adults say they still subscribe to home broadband, about one in four (27%) do not -- with growing shares of these non-adopters citing their mobile phone as a reason for not subscribing to such services.

Among non-broadband users, 45% say they do not have broadband at home because their smartphone allows them to do everything they need to do online -- up from 27% in 2015.

What’s more, the share of non-broadband users who say their smartphone is the most important reason for not having a high-speed internet connection where they live has nearly doubled over the same time period -- from 12% to 23%.

While affordability remains a commonly cited barrier, the share of non-broadband adopters who say the cost of a monthly subscription is the most important reason for not having these services has actually fallen from 33% in 2015 to 21% today.

This trend underscores the reliance of a minority of U.S. consumers on their smartphone for Web access.

About 1 in 5 (17%) of U.S. adults identify themselves as “smartphone only internet users” -- meaning that they report owning a smartphone, but do not have a traditional high-speed internet connection where they live.

This share has roughly doubled since 2013, when 8% of adults fell into this category.

For its findings, Pew said it relied on a national sample of 1,502 adults.
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