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Email, news gathering and paying bills continue to be the most widely used online activities among US adults, but downloading TV programs, watching videos and making web phone calls posted the biggest overall growth, according to data from Mediamark Research & Intelligence (MRI). mediamark-research-mri-online-activities-us-adults-2008.jpg

MRI’s Fall 2008 Survey of the American Consumer found that 3.2% of US online adults (age 18+) said they had downloaded a TV program in the last 30 days, representing a year-to-year increase of 141.4%.The number of online adults who reported watching online video increased 35.4% during the same period, to a total of 23.3% of the adult population, while 4.0% of respondents reported making an online phone call, an increase of 32.0%.

Email, news, bill-paying still most popular

The internet activities engaged in by the greatest number of adults were use of e-mail (74.2%), obtaining news (46%) and paying bills online (39.6%). Though these have been popular online activities among adults for several years, they also continue to experience growth.”We should not be surprised that relatively new activities such as downloading TV programs from the internet have a lower overall usage,” said Anne Marie Kelly, SVP of marketing & strategic planning. “What is interesting is that virtually all activities – including mainstream ones such as using email – have shown growth in the last year.”

Survey additions for 2008

Several new internet activities were added to the survey this year, to continue to capture the broad range of evolving adult internet behavior. Among newly added activities:

  • One in four adults reporting sharing photos in the last 30 days.
  • 9% of adults sent electronic greeting cards.
  • 5.3% watched a live TV program online.
  • 4.1% uploaded or added video to a website.

About the survey: MRI’s? Survey of the American Consumer collects information on adult consumers’ media choices, product usage, demographics, lifestyle and attitudes. Usage of nearly 6,000 product and service brands across 550 categories are measured, along with the readership of hundreds of magazines and newspapers, internet usage, TV viewership to the program level, national and local radio listening, Yellow Pages usage and out-of-home exposure. This year’s survey was fielded from September 2007 to October 2008.

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