Commentary

Less Frequent Internet Users Closing The Gap

According to a recent Gallop Poll, Americans' frequent use of the Internet has almost doubled over the last five years; 48% now report using the Internet more than one hour per day compared to 26% in 2002. Post-graduates, those making more than $75,000 per year, and those under age 30 are the most frequent users of the Internet, with more than 6 out of 10 in each group saying they use the Internet more than one hour per day.

Consumers Using Internet More Than One Hour Per Day

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% Using More Than 1 Hour/Day

January, 2003

26%

January, 2004

27

January, 2005

32

January, 2006

33

January, 2007

37

January, 2008

43

December, 2008

48

Source: Gallop Poll, December 4-7, 2008

The least educated, least affluent, and oldest Americans are those who least often use the Internet, with about one-third or fewer in each group saying they use the Internet more than one hour per day. Smaller gaps exist between men and women, and the employed versus the non-working.

Frequent (More Than One Hour Per Day) Use of The Internet

Demographic Group

% Using More Than 1hr. A Day

Post graduates

68%

Income ≥ $75K

63

Age 18-29

62

Age 30-49

54

Employed

53

Men

53

Some college

52

College grad

51

Income $30-75K

49

Unmarried

48

All adults (U.S.)

48

Non working

41

≤ Highschool

34

Income < $30K

33

Age 65+

23

Source: Gallop Poll, December 4-7, 2008

Among these demographic groups, several posted gains in frequent Internet use in the past year (more than one hour per day) significantly greater than the five percentage point gain measured among adults nationwide. The five groups posting double-digit gains are:

  • Those making less than $30,000 per year
  • Those who are not working
  • Those who are unmarried
  • Those who are under age 30
  • Those with post graduate educations

Men and those 65 and older round out the groups posting gains greater than the national average. The gains among men are particularly interesting when compared to the negligible change among women. Further, college graduates, those aged 30-49 years, and those making $75,000 or more per year were actually slightly less likely than one year ago to report using the Internet more than one hour per day.

The report concludes that Americans are using the Internet more frequently than ever. While the most educated, most affluent, and youngest Americans are those more likely to say they use the Internet more than one hour per day, the less affluent, non-working, and unmarried are increasing their usage at noteworthy rates.

And the author suggests that "... business leaders -- and advertisers in particular -- will be well-served to keep these burgeoning trends in mind. While targeting content toward the most educated, most affluent, and youngest Americans may be an effective strategy today, the growth evident among their counterparts at the other end of the spectrum suggests new strategies may be needed to cater to the frequent Internet users of tomorrow."

Time Personally Spent On Internet (% of Respondents)

 

> 1Hour

≤ 1Hour

A Few Times/Week

A Few Times/Month or Less

Never

All U.S. Adults

48%

17%

12%

5%

18%

By Gender

 

 

 

 

 

   Men

53

15

11

5

15

   Women

42

19

12

6

20

By Age

 

 

 

 

 

   18-29

62

12

17

6

3

   30-49

54

21

12

7

6

   50-64

45

19

13

3

20

   65+

23

15

5

5

52

By Annual Income

 

 

 

 

 

   ≥ $75,000

63

21

11

1

4

   $30-75,000

49

19

13

5

14

   < $30,000

32

13

11

10

33

By Education

 

 

 

 

 

   Post grads

68

19

7

2

4

   College grads

51

26

10

4

8

   Some college

52

18

12

5

13

   ≤ High school

34

12

14

7

32

Source: Gallop Poll, December 4-7, 2008

For more information and additional charts, please visit here.

1 comment about "Less Frequent Internet Users Closing The Gap".
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  1. Jonathan Hutter from Northern Light Health, January 14, 2009 at 9:09 a.m.

    This sounds like good, old-fashioned horse sense to me.

    Jonathan Hutter
    Portland, ME

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