Mobile is huge. Old news, yes, but there are new findings on U.S. smartphone use.
Even though millions of Americans use smartphones for daily activities such as reservations, shopping, entertainment, and more, the term “going online” still brings to mind the image of someone at a desktop (or these days, maybe an iPad).
However, according to Pew Research, “nearly two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone, and 19% of Americans rely to some degree on a smartphone for accessing online services and information and for staying connected to the world around them — either because they lack broadband at home, or because they have few options for online access other than their cell phone.”
The research shows that users are using their smartphones for various reasons, also, users of different income and educational levels use their smartphones differently. “Some 13% of Americans with an annual household income of less than $30,000 per year are smartphone-dependent. Just 1% of Americans from households earning more than $75,000 per year rely on their smartphones to a similar degree for online access.” This lasted group has other means of accessing the internet, while the smartphone dependent population need smartphones for online access (as seen in the graph).
At the same time, though, “The connections to online resources that smartphones facilitate are often most tenuous for those users who rely on those connections the most.”
Research also shows that “12% of African Americans and 13% of Latinos are smartphone-dependent, compared with 4% of whites.” Also, “Lower-income smartphone owners are especially likely to use their phone during a job search. Compared with smartphone owners from households earning $75,000 or more per year, those from households earning less than $30,000 annually are nearly twice as likely to use a smartphone to look for information about a job — and more than four times as likely to use their phone to actually submit a job application.”
As well, “Young adults (85% of whom are smartphone owners) are also incorporating their mobile devices into a host of information seeking and transactional behaviors. About three-quarters of 18-29 year old smartphone owners have used their phone in the last year to get information about a health condition; about seven-in-ten have used their phone to do online banking or to look up information about job; 44% have consumed educational content on their phone; and 34% have used their phone to apply for a job.”
For older users, “Mobile news consumption is common even among older smartphone owners, who tend to use these devices for more basic activities. Four-in-ten smartphone owners ages 65 and older use their phone at least occasionally to keep up with breaking news, half use it to share information about local happenings, and one-third use it to stay abreast of events and activities in their community.”