Minorities Lead Mobile Content Adoption / Blacks and Hispanics come out ahead
Based on data from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, consumption of mobile content shows significant variation among ethnic groups.
According to Pew’s “Wireless Internet Use” report, 32% of all US consumers ages 18 and older have accessed the mobile Internet. Penetration was up 8 percentage points over 2007.
eMarketer estimates 26.3% of mobile phone subscribers will log on to the mobile Web at least once per month in 2009, for a total of 73.7 million mobile Internet users.
The digital divide may still exist when it comes to traditional Internet access—Pew found white consumers were more likely to go online via a PC on a typical day than blacks, at 59% versus 45%—but the opposite pattern exists for mobile Internet usage.
Nearly one-half of black and Hispanic consumers reported having ever used the Internet via a handheld device in 2009, compared with only 28% of whites. Usage by all three groups grew since 2007, but usage by minorities climbed more quickly. By 2009, 29% of both blacks and Hispanics went online with a handheld device “on a typical day,” versus only 17% of whites.
“Black and Hispanic households are more likely to use a mobile phone as their primary phone, and have a lower penetration rate of PCs and broadband than white households,” said Lisa E. Phillips, eMarketer senior analyst. “It makes sense that these groups access the Internet via a mobile device more often than whites.”
High mobile usage among minorities is not limited to online content. Black and Hispanic mobile users were more likely than whites to participate in every mobile activity studied by Pew, including sending and receiving text messages, taking pictures, playing games and accessing e-mail.
One-half of white mobile users reported consuming at least one type of mobile content on a typical day, compared with 58% of black mobile users and fully 70% of Hispanics.