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Mobile Internet Use Is Growing Even Faster Than You Think

August 20th, 2012 ::

By Rieva Lesonsky

You know the world is going mobile—but did you know just how fast it’s happening? A new report, Cell Internet Use 2012, from the Pew Internet & American Life Project has the details.

Pew found that almost one-third (31 percent) of U.S. mobile Web users, or 17 percent of all cell phone owners, now go online primarily using their mobile phones. This is a trend that has been accelerating steadily since Pew first began measuring mobile Internet use in 2009.

Overall, Pew reports over half (55 percent) of cell phone owners use their phones to go online. That’s an increase from 47 percent last year. Seventy-four percent of mobile Web users (or 41 percent of all cell phone owners) report using their phones to go online at least once a day.

Who’s most likely to use mobile phones to access the Web? Young people, less affluent users and minorities. Forty-five percent of 18- to-29-year-olds who go online using phones say they go online primarily through their mobile device. So do half (51 percent) of African-American mobile Web users and 42 percent of Hispanic mobile Web users. By comparison, only a quarter (24 percent) of white mobile Web users go online mostly on mobile devices. People with higher levels of education and income were also more likely to go online via phone.

Not surprisingly, mobile Web use is growing fastest among 25-to-34-year-olds. Some 80 percent of cell phone owners in this age group use their phones to go online, up from 43 percent in 2009. Other age groups with high levels of cell phone Internet usage include those ages 18-24 (75 percent of whom use their phones to go online) and ages 35-44 (68 percent). Even seniors are getting in on the act, with 16 percent now using their phones to go online.

When asked why they use their phones to browse the Internet, nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of respondents cite convenience, noting that their mobile phones are always available. Only 10 percent say it’s because they lack a computer or Internet access.

What does this trend mean to you? Americans crave convenience, and going online via phone answers that need. With all age groups—even seniors—now joining the trend, if you haven’t already ensured that your website is mobile friendly, now is the time to do so. In particular, if you target consumers aged 18 to 34, you need to get mobile—fast.

Image by Flickr user timparkinson (Creative Commons)

The views expressed here are the author's alone and not those of Network Solutions or its partners.

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