A recent Gallup Poll completed in December 2008 has found that American’s use of the Internet has almost doubled in the past five years. 48% of adults reported that they use the Internet for at least one hour a day, as opposed to only 26% in 2002.
Although overall use of the Internet is up, the poll reveals that gaps still exist in Internet use based on education, age and income levels. For example, the most frequent Internet users are people under 30, those with advanced degrees, and people that make over $75,000/year. Older Americans, the less afluent, and the least educated use the Internet the least, however these demographic groups have seen the most significant gain in amount of time spent online.
There were five groups that were identified in the survey as making double digit gains in frequency of Internet use:
- Unemployed people
- Unmarried people
- People under 30
- People making less than $30k a year
- People with post-graduate educations
Additionally, the poll indicated an apparent trend reversal among people 30-49 who make more than $75,000 a year, stating that this group is less likely to use the Internet for more than one hour a day than they were a year ago.
Advertisers and business owners should consider these trends to create effective strategies for their own businesses. While most businesses tend to target the most affluent, educated Americans, this poll clearly shows that they should not discount users at the other end of the spectrum as it is evident their numbers are increasing.