For College Students, Mobile Web Is the Norm - eMarketer

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For College Students, Mobile Web Is the Norm

More undergrads have mobile web device than desktop computer

November 9, 2010

While most children and teens still rely on feature phones, college students have graduated to the world of mobile internet devices—including smartphones, tablets and mobile game consoles.

According to the “ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology” by Shannon D. Smith and Judith Borreson Caruso for the EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research, 62.7% of US undergraduates surveyed had an internet-capable handheld device. That number fell about halfway between the 83.8% who had a laptop and the 45.9% with a desktop PC.

Ownership of internet-enabled handheld devices increased by more than 11 percentage points between 2009 and spring 2010, with the number of students planning to purchase such a device in the next year holding steady. The study was fielded before the release of the iPad, which many students expressed a specific interest in purchasing.

Ownership of an Internet-Enabled Handheld Device Among US College Student Internet Users, 2009 & 2010 (% of respondents)

As the devices have become more common among undergraduates, they have also begun to play a bigger role in students’ lives. In 2009, fewer than half of respondents who owned an internet-enabled handheld device said they used it at least weekly, with fewer than a third reporting daily use. By 2010, 42.6% reported using the devices every day and two-thirds did so at least once a week.

Frequency of Internet Use via Handheld Device Among US College Student Internet Users, 2009 & 2010 (% of respondents)

“If college students follow global trends, we can anticipate even more growth in Internet-capable handheld device ownership and use over the next few years as the perceived cost-benefit improves,” said the report.

Such devices could be a promising way for advertisers to reach college students—who are often hostile to ads on their mobile phones—on the go.

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Check out today’s other article, “Is Social Media Making Consumers Antisocial?

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