Online usage amongst mobile phone owners in the US growing

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A recent study by Pew Internet & American Life Project found that out of the 88% of U.S. adults who own a cell phone, 55% use their phones to access the Internet or go online – a considerable increase from April 2009 when 31% used their phones to go online.

Of the 55%, 31% of these “cell internet users” (as deemed by Pew) use their phones to go online more than they use their computers or tablets – or 17% of all cell phone owners. Owners who are young or non-whites are more likely to access the Internet primarily with their phone – 45% of 18-29 year olds; and 51% of African-Americans & 42% of Latinos compared to only 24% of whites.

Interestingly, the study also found that those with annual household incomes of less than $50,000 and those who did not graduate college were more likely to use their phone as their primary Internet source.

So why do 17% of all cell phone owners use their phones more than computers or tablets to access the Internet? The study revealed three major factors:

1) “Cell phones are convenient, always available” – 64% of cell-mostly Internet users agreed.

2) “Cell phones better fit people’s usage habits” – according to 18% of cell-mostly Internet users, their online habits make their smartphones “a simpler, more effective choice for going online.”

3) “Cell phones fill access gaps” – 10% of cell-mostly Internet users said they either do not have access to a computer or they do not have other sources of Internet connection besides their mobile one.

The study was conducted through telephone interviews with 2,254 adults age 18 and over from March 15 to April 3, 2012. Respondents answered questions like “Please tell me if you ever use your cell phone to do any of the following things. do you ever use your cell phone to…send or receive email?” and “Did you happen to use the Internet on your cell phone yesterday?” (which 74% of respondents said “Yes” to). To see more survey questions, you can visit here.

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