Cell phones and the internet have become an essential part of the daily lives of Americans – so much so, that when asked how long they would feel OK without online access 15% saya day or less, 21% say a couple of days and 19% say a few days, and only one out of five say they could last a week.
Men were more likely than women to say they could not go without the internet for up to a few days – 59% vs. 50% – but responses did not vary significantly by age.
Highlighting the nature of the online addiction, 48% of respondents agreed, “If I cannot access the Internet when I want to, I feel like something important is missing.”
Among the general findings of the JWT survey:
- 28% admit that they spend less time socializing face-to-face with peers because of the amount of time spent online or otherwise occupied with their gadgets
- 20% say they’re spending less time having sex.
- US users can’t go without the internet, cell phones and television – in that order.
- Nearly equal proportions of men and women (60% and 58%, respectively) agree, “Digital technology is an essential part of how I live.” Agreement level decreases as age increases:
- 66% of the youngest cohort agrees.
- 57% of the middle cohort agrees.
- 49% of the oldest cohort agrees.
Other findings on internet use:
- 97% of those surveyed have internet access at home. Among them, men and women are equally as likely to spend “a lot of my time online.”
- Almost three-quarters agree that they now shop differently, and two-fifths say more of their spending is moving online:
- 73% agree, “The Internet has changed the way I shop.”
- 42% overall and 45% of under-35s agree, “My spending is moving more and more from offline to online.”
- Basic search is the most popular online activity: Sites like Google and Yahoo are the most frequently accessed, with a mean of 8.8 on a scale where 10 equals “all the time” and 1 equals “almost never”; usage is slightly higher among women than men (8.9 vs. 8.5).
- Email is close behind search:
- Email based on one’s computer scores a mean of 8.4, with usage slightly higher among women (8.5 vs. 8.3).
- With a mean of 6.7, online email such as Hotmail or Gmail is next; usage remains slightly higher among women (6.8 vs. 6.5).
- The younger age cohorts are more likely to use web-based email services: those under 35 have a mean score of 7.7 vs. 6.3 for the middle cohort and 5.5 for the 55-plus group.
- Social networking sites score well behind other sites: Facebook, MySpace and other social networking sites score a mean of 4.4, behind seven other categories of sites, including:
- Branded all-in-one-place home pages like MyYahoo or iGoogle: 6.2
- Personal-interest specialty sites/communities (e.g., sports, music, photography, technology): 5.8
- Online newspapers/magazines: 5.8
Findings on gaming, audio, WiFi, DVR:
- Women are slightly more likely to own a gaming console: 44% of women say they own one, compared with 39% of men.
- Those under 35 are significantly more likely to own a gaming console: 59% vs. 40% of the middle cohort and 11% of those over 55.
- 34% own an iPod or other personal audio player, with men slightly more likely than women to own one (36% vs. 33%).
- The youngest cohort is more than twice as likely as the oldest cohort to own a personal audio player: 49% vs. 15% of those over 55 and 30% of the middle cohort.
- Men and those under 35 are most likely to use WiFi networking at home:
- A quarter of respondents say they have WiFi at home – 30% of men and 22% of women.
- 32% of those under 35 use WiFi at home, compared with 23% of the middle cohort and 19% of the older cohort.
- 24% use TiVo or similar devices, with no significant difference by gender. However, use skews younger, going from 27% to 24% to 16%.
About the study: JWT conducted the random online survey of 1,011 Americans 18 years and older from September 7-11 using JWT’s proprietary SONAR panel: male -41.7% (422); female – 58.3% (589).