Don’t you love Pew Research Center? If you don’t and you’re an Internet geek, or really anyone who has a website, you should learn to love it. Pew Research tracks Internet trends—who’s online, what they’re doing—collecting tons of data that’s extremely useful to anyone who owns a website and needs to think about marketing strategy. So, what have they found?
In short, almost everyone—the vast majority of urban, suburban, rural teens and adults, both sexes, all economic backgrounds—everyone.
- More than 80 percent of both men and women are online and 90 percent of people aged 18 to 20.
- The higher the educational obtainment and the higher the income, the more likely someone is to be online.
- Ninety-six percent of college-educated adults and those who make more than $75k per year say they use the Internet.
- Eighty-six percent of urban dwellers report using the Internet. Usage numbers a bit lower for rural areas—80 percent.
- Of ethnic groups, fewer Hispanics report using the Internet than Blacks or Whites. Seventy-six percent say they use the Internet as opposed to 86 percent of whites and 85 percent of Blacks.
- Adults between 18 and 29 are the biggest users of social media.
- Social media use among the 65+ has tripled over the past four years.
- Most adults own cell phone (91 percent).
- Desktop computer ownership is falling, while mp3 and game console ownership has remained steady.
- What’s on the rise? Tablet computers, ebook readers, and laptop computers, with 34 percent, 26 percent and 61 percent of adults report owning them respectively.
What are adults doing online?
Adults, being as practical as they are, are mostly searching for information (91 percent) and reading email (88 percent). Other utilitarian endeavors follow, like looking for info on a hobby or searching for driving directions, checking the weather or researching a product. Seventy-one percent buy products online and watch YouTube or Vimeo.
Adults appear to be more likely than teens to post reviews about products and comment on forums outside of social networking sites. Though 67 percent of adults are using Facebook, LinkedIn or Google Plus, that number is far lower than teen social network use, which is at 80 percent.
Now for the teens
- Ninety-seven percent of boys and 93 percent of girls say they access the Internet.
- Twenty-nine percent of girls say they access the net primarily on their mobile device, where just 20 percent of boys do.
- More than 70 percent of both sexes say they use a mobile device to surf the web.
- No shocker to parents, more than 90 percent of 12-year-olds are using the Internet.
- Unlike their adult counterparts, rural teens are using the Internet at higher numbers (99 percent) than their urban peers (94 percent).
- Ninety-one percent of teens born to parents with a high school diploma use the Internet. With just some college in the parental background, that number increases to 99 percent.
Mobile Devices Among Teens
- More than 65 percent of all teens aged 12-17 of all ethnicities, geographical regions and household income levels are accessing the Internet through a mobile device.
- Thirty percent of teens living in $30k (or less) households, use the Internet primarily on their mobile device.
- Ninety-nine percent of teens living in a $75k+ per year household say they use the Internet. Seventy-nine percent of them report using a mobile device to access the web, and 24 percent say they use their mobile device as their primary access point.
- Overall, the biggest mobile Internet users among teens are 14-17 year-old girls, 34 percent of which primarily use their mobile device to access the Internet.
What kind of gadgets do those teens have?
According to Pew, 80 percent of teens own a computer and 78 percent have a mobile phone. Yet, only 37 percent have a smart phone and a mere 23 percent own a tablet.
What type of Internet access do teens have a home?
In homes that have a computer, the vast majority say they use a cable modem (32 percent) or a DSL modem (30 percent) to connect. Maybe, surprisingly, 10 percent of teen households say they are accessing the Internet at home via dial-up.
What teens do online…
We’ll give you one guess.
- Social Networking. MySpace Facebook grabs the attention of 80 percent of teens.
- Twitter as won over 16 percent of teens.
- Coming in second (at 62 percent) is gathering news and information.
- At third place, with 48 percent of teens reporting this online activity, is shopping.
- Yes, plenty of them are sharing their own creations online—artwork, photos, stories or videos—38 percent of them, to be exact.
Teen Internet Trends
From 2000 to 2009, Pew has asked teens about their Internet usage. What the data reveals:
- Teen Internet shopping has increased, with 48 percent of teens now reporting online shopping activity, up from 31 percent.
- Teen blogging as decreased. Fourteen percent of teens say they use the Internet to blog, down from 19 percent.
- Those who share their own creations online is increasing, from 33 to 38 percent.
- When asked where they use the Internet, “home” has held steady at about 90 percent, where “library” and “school” have increased. “Somewhere else,” however, experienced a huge jump, from less than 4 percent in 2000 to 45 percent in 2009.
- Teens report texting more and speaking on the phone less.
- Though Facebook and MySpace are still used by most, teens are using these platforms less frequently overall.
- Most teens will comment on a friend’s picture (83 percent), but fewer are sending private messages to friends over the Internet (82 percent in 2000 to 66 percent in 2009).
As a corollary to the Internet usage growth is an increase in information production. Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers (KPCB), an investment firm, reported at their Internet Trends Conference in May 2013 that the amount of information created and shared on the Internet has grown nine times since 2005. The majority of this data? Photos and video.
KPCB also reported huge growth in “Win-Win-Win” sharing. These are platforms like Yelp and Waze that specialize in the user-communities sharing information. Since last year, KPCB says Yelp has experienced a 43 percent increase in users and Waze user-ship has doubled.
The sweeping trend appears to be interaction. Seniors and teens alike are increasing their use of sites that ask for their input or allow them to socialize. Not surprisingly, many of these sites (Facebook, Twitter, Waze, Yelp) have robust mobile platforms that allow users to access them anywhere—and mobile users are increasingly relying on their mobile devices to find information and socialize online.