More Americans accessing the Net on mobile devices

A recent study conducted by Pew indicates that more Americans are accessing the Internet on mobile devices.

Indeed, cell phone and wireless laptop Internet use have each grown more prevalent over the last year, with nearly half of all adults (47%) going online with a laptop using a Wi-Fi connection or mobile broadband card.

In addition, approximately 40% of adults use the Internet, email or instant messaging on a mobile phone – up sharply from 32% in 2009. 

“This means that 59% of adults now access the internet wirelessly using a laptop or cell phone — that is, they answered ‘yes’ to at least one of these wireless access pathways,” explained Pew spokesperson Aaron Smith.

“That adds up to an increase from the 51% who used a laptop or cell phone wirelessly in April 2009.”

According to Smith, the use of non-voice data applications on cell phones has grown “dramatically” over the last year, with poll participants using their mobile devices to:  

  • Take pictures — 76% now do this, up from 66% in April 2009.
  • Send or receive text messages — 72% vs. 65%.
  • Access the internet — 38% vs. 25%.
  • Play games — 34% vs. 27%.
  • Send or receive email — 34% vs. 25%.
  • Record a video — 34% vs. 19%.
  • Play music — 33% vs. 21%.
  • Send or receive instant messages — 30% vs. 20%.

It should also be noted that African-Americans and English-speaking Latinos continue to be among the most active users of the mobile web.

In addition, cell phone ownership is higher among African-Americans and Latinos than among whites (87% vs. 80%), while minority cell phone owners take advantage of a much greater range of their phones’ features compared with white mobile phone users.

In total, 64% of African-Americans access the Internet from a laptop or mobile phone, marking a seven-point increase from the 57% who did so at a similar point in 2009.

Unsurprisingly, young adults (18-29) are also avid users of mobile data applications, but older adults are gaining fast. 

Compared with 2009, cell phone owners ages 30-49 are significantly more likely to use their mobile device to send text messages, access the Internet, take pictures, record videos, use email or instant messaging, and play music.