The rapid rise of Internet adoption in the United States has peaked, a trend that has implications for marketers who have shifted their budgets to interactive from print.
One in five American adults does not use the Internet, according to the Pew Internet Project, which interviewed 2,260 adults age 18 and older in English and Spanish, by landline and cell phone, in July and August of 2011.
Internet adoption among U.S. adults increased rapidly from the mid-’90s to about 2005. That means adoption topped out at least a year before the advent of the Great Recession. Since then, the number of adult Internet users has remained stable at around 75 to 80%. The Pew Internet & American Life Project’s latest poll shows that this trend continued in 2011.
Here are the major findings:
- Senior citizens, those who prefer to take interviews in Spanish rather than English, adults with less than a high school education and those living in households earning less than $30,000 per year are the least likely adults to have Internet access.
- Among adults who do not use the Internet, almost half said the main reason they don’t go online is because they don’t think the Internet is relevant to them. Most have never used the Internet before and don’t have anyone in their household who does.
- The 27% of adults living with disability in the United States today are significantly less likely than adults without a disability to go online (54% vs. 81%). That’s a small number, thought. Pew found that only 2% of adults have a disability or illness that makes it more difficult or impossible for them to use the internet at all.
While Internet use has reached saturation among most residents, another trend—the move toward mobile computing—may counteract the former. Pew reports that 88% of American adults have a cell phone, 57% have a laptop, 19% own an e-book reader and 19% have a tablet computer. About six in ten adults (63%) go online wirelessly with one of those devices.
For marketers, that means a deeper dive into data on those subgroups.
Drill, baby, drill.