The idea that new internet users will come online on smartphones rather than computers is now well established. But it is often assumed that this population is composed entirely of people from the world’s poor countries. A new report from Pew punctures that assumption: It turns out that one in five American adults access the internet primarily from their smartphones.
A tenth of Americans over 18 have no broadband service apart from the data package on their phones; 15% say they have few options to get online apart from their phones. According to Pew, 19% of American adults say that at least one of those two conditions applies, while 7% say both of them apply. That’s a not-insignificant proportion of the 64% of American adults who own smartphones.
So who are these people? Perhaps unsurprisingly, they tend to skew younger, poorer, and non-white. “Compared with other smartphone owners, they are less likely to own a traditional computer (50% do so, compared with 91% of other smartphone owners) or tablet (27% vs. 56%); less likely to have a bank account (63% vs. 91%); and less likely to be covered by health insurance (71% vs. 87%). They are also less likely to own their current residence, and more likely to rent or to live with a friend or family member,” according to Pew.
SOURCE: Leo Mirani