The mobile internet may be getting lots of attention for the share of time it is taking from the desktop web, but that doesn’t mean the phone is most mobile internet users’ primary access point.
According to a May 2013 survey from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 34% of US mobile internet users primarily went online using their mobile phone, while 53% preferred a different device. Still, 34% is not an inconsiderable number, and adding in the 11% of mobile internet users who said they used their mobile phone to go online about as often as some other device, it seems the mobile phone’s role in people’s daily web usage may be inching up to parity with the desktop. In keeping with this trend, this year, eMarketer estimates, the combined time spent per day accessing the internet on the mobile phone and tablet will surpass time spent online on the PC.
There is one group who overindexes considerably for using the mobile phone to access the internet: Hispanics. Three out of five Hispanic mobile internet users in Pew’s survey said they mostly went online via their mobile phone. Black mobile internet users were 17 percentage points behind, while only 27% of whites primarily used their phone to go online, below the national average. Only the youngest adults in the survey—those between 18 and 29 years old—came close to Hispanics in the proportion who favored the mobile phone for web access, at 50%.
The numbers stand somewhat in contrast to overall mobile internet penetration. Blacks lead, with the highest percentage (74%) using the mobile internet, followed by Hispanics (68%) and whites (59%). Pew found that overall mobile internet penetration in the US stood at 63%, up from April 2012, when 55% of residents used the mobile web.
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