Mobile Internet Use UpBy: Mike Sachoff - July 23, 2009
More than half (56%) of Americans have accessed the Internet using wireless mobile devices such as smartphones and laptops, according to a new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
The most popular way people go online via wireless is with a laptop as 39 percent of Internet users have done this.
One-third of Americans (32%) have used a cell phone or a smartphone to access the Internet for emailing, instant messaging, or searching for information. The amount of mobile Internet usage is up by one-third since December 2007, when 24 percent of Americans had gone online via a mobile device.
On an average day 19 percent of Americans use the Internet on a mobile device, up significantly from 11 percent in December 2007. That’s a growth of 73 percent in the 16 month time period between reports.
"Mobile access strengthens the three pillars of online engagement: connecting with others, satisfying information queries, and sharing content with others," said John B. Horrigan, Associate Director of the Pew Internet Project and principal author of the report.
"With access in their pockets, many Americans are ‘on the fly’ consumers and producers of digital information."
The report also found that African Americans are the most active users of the mobile Internet. Nearly half (48%) of African Americans have accessed the Internet on a mobile device, and on the average day 29 percent go online with a handheld.
"The notion of a digital divide for African Americans has some resonance when thinking about the wireline Internet," said Horrigan.
"But when you introduce the mobile Internet, the picture changes and African Americans are the pace setters."
When wireless users were asked why they accessed the Internet on mobile devices they cited the following reasons:
- Half (50%) say it is very important to them to have mobile access in order to stay in touch with other people.
- Nearly the same share (46%) says they mobile access is very important for getting online information on the go.
- One in six (17%) say mobile access is very important to them so they can share or post online content while away from home or work.