Now US Is Online, And How!
FEBRUARY 28, 2008
Nobody argues. Almost everybody is online. But what are they all doing?
Internet usage is becoming a daily habit in the US.
Although growth has slowed to the low single digits in recent years—projected to be just 3.1% in 2008—US Internet users can be counted in the hundreds of millions.
eMarketer projects that this year there will be 193.9 million US Internet users—about two-thirds of the population.
By 2012, nearly 217 million Americans will be online, or about 71% of the population.
Not only are Americans online, they are spending a lot of time online.
According to the USC Annenberg School Center for the Digital Future, on average US Internet users spent 15.3 hours a week online last year, and that is up from 8.9 hours in 2006.
Furthermore, the study found that children ages 8 to 14 are online nearly two hours a day, and 45% of young adults ages 18 to 24 spend three or more hours a day online.
"The thing marketers have to remember when looking at online users, however," says Lisa Phillips, eMarketer Senior Analyst and author of the new report, US Online Population, "is that the US Internet population differs from the general population in age, race/ethnicity, income and education levels."
Gender is the only measure that closely matches the general population, with slightly more females than males online.
"eMarketer estimates that on the Internet, females consistently make up almost 52% of the population versus 48% males," says Ms. Phillips. "And we foresee that ratio remaining constant at least through 2011."
"On the other hand, the racial make-up of the US Internet population does differ slightly from the general population," says Ms. Phillips.
Non-Hispanic whites, for example, comprise about 66% of the US population in 2008, but are 72.4% of the online population. Likewise, Asian Americans account for about 4.5% of the general population, but are 6% of all US Internet users.
By contrast, African Americans represent nearly 13% of the general population, but make up just 11.2% of the online population, and Hispanics (who can be of any race) are about 15% of the general population compared to just 10.4% of the online one.
"Marketers looking to create effective online ads need to focus on the demographic features of the US Internet population," says Ms. Phillips. "Knowing the market specifics of size, gender, age, race and ethnicity, income and education is the only way to make smart targeting decisions."
Find specifics you need to know, download the new eMarketer report, US Online Population, today.