Younger adults, minorities, and lower income earners who own smartphones are likeliest to mostly use them to access the internet, according to a July 2011 survey from the Pew Research Center Internet & American Life Project. Survey data indicates 42% of 18-to-29-year-old smartphone owners mostly use them for web access, double the 21% of 30-to-49-year-olds who do so and more than four times the 10% of smartphone owners 50 and older.
In addition, 38% of black and Latino smartphone owners mostly use the devices for web access, more than double the 17% of white smartphone owners who do so.
Lowest Income Bracket 4x as Likely as Highest Bracket to Mostly Use Smartphone for Web
Dividing smartphone owners by income, the study finds 40% of smartphone owners with a household income less than $30,000 a year mostly access the internet via smartphone, more than four times the 17% of smartphone owners with household income more than $50,000.
Smartphones are the primary internet device for 29% of owners earning $30,000 to $49,999 in household income, making those earning less than $30,000 about one-third more likely to mostly use their smartphone for web browsing.
There is no significant difference by gender.
1/3 of HS Grads Mostly Use Smartphone for Web
One-third (33%) of high school graduate smartphone owners mostly use the devices for web access. This is 22% more than the 27% of smartphone owners with some college education but about 150% more than the 13% of smartphone owners with a college degree.
Eldest, Least Educated Smartphone Owners Least Likely to Access Web
Looking at the rates of smartphone owners who use them to access the internet (ever, not necessarily as the primary browsing device), the study finds little difference by demographic with two notable exceptions. Only 72% of smartphone owners 50 and older access the internet, 23% less than the 94% of smartphone owners 18-29 and 20% less than the 90% of smartphone owners 30-49.
Interestingly, although high school grads are the most likely to use their smartphones as their primary internet devices, they are least likely to use them overall (79%, which is 13% less than the 91% of college grads and 11% less than the 89% with some college).
Smartphone Owners Active Online
Smartphone owners generally participate in online activities through their devices at high rates, according to other Pew study results. Almost nine in 10 (87%) use internet or email on their smartphone, while two-thirds (68%) use it to go online on a typical day and one-quarter mostly use their smartphone to go online.
About the Data: The results reported here are based on a national telephone survey of 2,277 adults conducted April 26-May 22, 2011.