20% of Americans Access the Internet Exclusively from Their Phones at Home

by | 4 minute read

"Amer­i­cans tend to view the impact of the inter­net and oth­er dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies on their own lives in large­ly pos­i­tive ways, Pew Research Cen­ter sur­veys have shown over the years. A sur­vey of U.S. adults con­duct­ed in Jan­u­ary 2018 finds con­tin­u­ing evi­dence of this trend, with the vast major­i­ty of inter­net users (88%) say­ing the inter­net has, on bal­ance, been a most­ly good thing for them per­son­al­ly."

"This is bal­anced by a cor­re­spond­ing increase (from 8% to 14%) in the share of online adults who say the internet’s soci­etal impact is a mix of good and bad. Mean­while, the share say­ing the inter­net has been a most­ly bad thing for soci­ety is large­ly unchanged over that time: 15% said this in 2014, and 14% say so today."

"This shift in opin­ion regard­ing the ulti­mate social impact of the inter­net is par­tic­u­lar­ly stark among old­er Amer­i­cans, despite the fact that old­er adults have been espe­cial­ly rapid adopters of con­sumer tech­nolo­gies such as social media and smart­phones in recent years. Today 64% of online adults ages 65 and old­er say the inter­net has been a most­ly good thing for soci­ety. That rep­re­sents a 14-point decline from the 78% who said this in 2014. The atti­tudes of younger adults have remained more con­sis­tent over that time: 74% of inter­net users ages 18 to 29 say the inter­net has been most­ly good for soci­ety, com­pa­ra­ble to the 79% who said so in 2014."

Accord­ing to Audi­enceS­CAN, 19.8% of Smart­phone Users are between the ages of 25 and 34, but this group is also 10% more like­ly than oth­er adults to be between the ages of 17 and 24. About 21.1% of them have annu­al house­hold incomes of between $25,000 and $49,999 and, while 52% of them are mar­ried, 56.8% don't have kids.

"These atti­tu­di­nal changes are occur­ring in a broad­er land­scape in which the access options avail­able to ordi­nary Amer­i­cans are shift­ing dra­mat­i­cal­ly. Most notably, ful­ly one-in-five Amer­i­cans (20%) are now “smart­phone only” inter­net users at home – that is, they own a smart­phone but do not sub­scribe to tra­di­tion­al broad­band ser­vice where they live. This rep­re­sents a 7‑point increase com­pared with data from 2015, when 13% of Amer­i­cans were smartphone-only users. Rough­ly two-thirds of Amer­i­cans (65%) say they sub­scribe to tra­di­tion­al broad­band ser­vice at home, sim­i­lar to the 67% who said this in July 2015."

"As has con­sis­tent­ly been true in past sur­veys con­duct­ed by the Cen­ter, those who rely on their smart­phones for home inter­net ser­vice are dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly less like­ly to have attend­ed col­lege com­pared with those with tra­di­tion­al broad­band ser­vice. They also report liv­ing in lower-income house­holds. For instance, 31% of Amer­i­cans with an annu­al house­hold income of less than $30,000 are smartphone-only inter­net users, more than three times the share among those liv­ing in house­holds earn­ing $75,000 or more per year (9%). This phe­nom­e­non is also notably more preva­lent among blacks and His­pan­ics than among whites."

In fact, accord­ing to Audi­enceS­CAN, only 10.7% of Smart­phone Users plan to pay for high-speed inter­net ser­vice for their homes this year.

"Con­verse­ly, rel­a­tive­ly well-educated and finan­cial­ly well-off Amer­i­cans are sub­stan­tial­ly more like­ly to say they do have a tra­di­tion­al broad­band con­nec­tion at home. Near­ly nine-in-ten Amer­i­cans in house­holds earn­ing $75,000 or more per year say they sub­scribe to home broad­band ser­vice, near­ly dou­ble the rate among those earn­ing less than $30,000 per year (45% of whom have broad­band ser­vice at home)."

So, how can Smart­phone Users be tar­get­ed with adver­tis­ing? While they are spend­ing a good deal of time on their phones, 45.6% of them still view TV as their go-to medi­um to get their local news, accord­ing to Audi­enceS­CAN. With­in the last year, 60.7% of these con­sumers took action after see­ing a TV com­mer­cial. Inter­net ads aren't far behind though. With­in the last year, 50.4% of Smart­phone Users took action after see­ing an ad on a social net­work, spon­sored search results  moti­vat­ed 49.8% to take action and 47.9% were moti­vat­ed into action after receiv­ing email newslet­ters or ads.

Audi­enceS­CAN data is avail­able for your appli­ca­tions and dash­boards through the Sales­Fu­el API. Media com­pa­nies and agen­cies can access Audi­enceS­CAN data through the Audi­enceS­CAN Reports in AdMall.

Rachel Cagle

Rachel Cagle

Rachel is a Research Ana­lyst, spe­cial­iz­ing in audi­ence intel­li­gence, at Sales­Fu­el. She also helps to main­tain the major accounts and co-op intel­li­gence data­bas­es. As the hold­er of a Bach­e­lors degree in Eng­lish from The Ohio State Uni­ver­si­ty, Rachel helps the rest of the Sales­Fu­el team with their writ­ing needs.