Pew: 25 Percent Prefer Smartphones To PC For Internet Access

The Pew Internet Project put out results of its first survey looking at smartphone ownership. Pew found that 35 percent of all US adults own a smartphone.

When the base is just mobile phone owners however (83 percent of American adults) the number goes up to 42 percent. The numbers go even higher in certain population segments; among 18 to 44 year old smartphone penetration is 50 percent. By contrast Nielsen reported that 38 percent of US mobile phones are now smartphones, while comScore says the number 33 percent in the US.

Pew also found that 87 percent of smartphone owners go online or get email and 68 percent do so daily (Google found that 53 percent of smartphone owners are online “multiple times” per day). Here’s the most interesting finding perhaps: “25 percent of smartphone owners say that they mostly go online using their phone, rather than with a computer.”

Pew didn’t fully explore the behavior around this finding, but said the following about whether this 25 percent was driven by preference or necessity:

Even among smartphone owners who use their phone as their main source of internet access, computer (i.e. laptop or desktop) ownership is quite prevalent. Indeed, fully 84% of these individuals also have a desktop or laptop computer at home.

Thus it would seem that mobile internet access is the preferred method for a sizable group of people: as many as perhaps 22 million Americans. This obviously holds significant implications for search and search marketers.

The smartphone market-share breakdown in the Pew data is as follows:

These figures don’t entirely agree but are directionally consistent with data from comScore and Nielsen. There’s also quite a bit of demographic information in the survey, including the following:

Related Entries

Related Topics: Channel: Mobile | Google: Mobile | Stats: comScore | Stats: General | Stats: NetRatings | Stats: Size


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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