Here’s a statistic consumer insights professionals might consider memorizing: Pew Research Center now reports that 20% of adult Americans rely solely on smartphones for their internet access. That’s up from 13% who reported relying on mobile phones alone in a Pew study in 2015.
Your own data needs to be representative across whatever demographic you’re trying to understand. Which means you need to reach the public where it lives. Just as railroad stations gave way to airports as the main hubs of physical journeys, personal computers are giving way to mobile for consumers' digital journeys. That’s especially true for crucial, traditionally “hard to find” Hispanics, African Americans and young-adult consumers. Reaching out to them on a personal computer for consumer surveys is barking up the wrong device. Data from Pew studies conducted in January, 2018 and in 2015 shows why:
- Hispanics: 35% are now smartphone-only, up from 23% in Pew’s 2015 study.
- Ages 18-29: 28% are smartphone-only, up from 19% in 2015.
- African Americans: 24% are now smartphone-only users, up from 19% in 2015.
- Whites: 14% are smartphone-only in 2018, up from 10% in 2015.
- Age 65 and older: Even among these slower adopters, smartphone-only use is now at 10% of the senior population, up from 7% in 2015.