This post looks at wireless internet demographics.
As of January 2021, it’s estimated that there are currently 4.66 billion active Internet users globally.
More than half of the world population is currently using the Internet.
Changing Times, Changing Devices
According to research done in 2009, 39% of all Americans, at that stage, had used a laptop computer to go online wirelessly. Also, 32% of Americans had at that stage used their mobile device to go online. So, at that time laptop computers were the most prevalent means of wireless access to the Internet.
It has been almost 12 years since aforementioned research was completed. Let’s see how the figures have changed since then. With broadband Internet services becoming more commonplace, the picture has changed significantly. People use their mobile devices more than ever before to access the Internet.
Wireless Internet Use
It’s expected that in 2021, 22.2 billion devices globally are going to be connected to the Internet wirelessly.
Below is a summary of this data, sorted by major demographics, according to a recent Pew Research Center report.
Wireless by Age
When it comes to age, the statistics clearly show that the biggest group of Internet users fall in the age group between 18 and 29.
Wireless by Race
Wireless by Gender
The statistics also show that both male and female adults use the Internet equally (about 90% of in both gender groups).
|Usage by Income|
|50 to 75K||97%|
|30 to 50K||93%|
- 98% of people who earn above $75,000 per year use the Internet.
- 97% of people who earn between $50,000 and $75,000 per year use the Internet.
- 93% of people who earn between $30,000 and $50,000 per year use the Internet.
- 82% of people who earn less than $30,000 per year use the Internet.
Wireless by Education
|Usage by Education|
|no high school||71%|
- 98% of college graduates use the Internet.
- 95% of the population with some college use the Internet.
- 84% of high school grads are Internet users.
- 71% of the population with less than a high school diploma uses the Internet.
Based on the above data, we can see how Internet usage varies across different demographic groups. Similarly, the adoption of home broadband services also varies.
Residential Broadband by Age
Residential Broadband by Race
In respect of race, the statistics on home broadband services tell the same story as overall Internet usage.
Residential Broadband by Gender
Likewise, in respect of gender these statistics are equal with 73% of both female and male adults having broadband services at home.
Residential Broadband by Income
|Broadband Usage by Income|
|between 50K and 75K||66%|
|between 30K and 50K||72%|
|less than 30K||56%|
- 92% of adults who earn over $75,000 have home broadband.
- 87% of adults you earn between $50,000 and $75,000 per year have home broadband.
- 72% of adults who earn between 30,000 and $50,000 per year have home broadband.
- 56% of adults that earn less than $30,000 per year have home broadband.
Residential Broadband by Education
|Broadband Usage by Education|
|high school grad||56%/td>|
|less than high school||46%%/td>|
- 93% of college graduates have home broadband.
- 77% of adults who have some college education have home broadband.
- 59% of adults who are high school graduates have home broadband.
- 46% of adults who have less than a high school education have home broadband.
Currently, 50.3% of all traffic worldwide is generated on mobile devices. In the US 50.5% of Internet users currently use the Internet on their mobile devices and 63% of all US online traffic comes from smartphones and tablets.
In 2020, 274.7 million people in the United States accessed the Internet through any kind of mobile device. It’s expected that in 2023, this figure will be over 295 million. Roughly calculated, this means that about 83% of the American population uses the Internet on their mobile devices.
Internet Access via Smartphone by Age
Here, the statistics show the converse of broadband usage, and shows that the following percentages of adults rely on smartphones for online access:
Internet Access via Smartphone by Race
In respect of race, the statistics show that the following percentages of adults use smartphones for online access:
Internet Access via Smartphone by Gender
Similar to the statistics on overall Internet usage, there is about an equal split between male and female when it comes to mobile online access. Here, 17% and 16% of males and females respectively use mobile phones for Internet access.
Internet Access via Smartphone by Income
In contrast with overall Internet and broadband usage, it appears that the higher income groups are less reliant on mobile phones, whereas lower income groups are more reliant on smartphones for Internet access.
|Access Internet via Phone Only by Income|
|more than $75K||6%|
|between 50K and $75K||10%|
|between 30K and $50K||20%/td>|
|less than $30K||26%/td>|
Internet Access via Smartphone by Education
Once again, as is the case with income and race, education also shows the converse to overall Internet usage.
|Access Internet via Phone Only by Education|
|less than high school||52%/td>|
When it comes to what users are using their smartphones for, it’s estimated that 89.2% of mobile Internet time is spent on mobile apps. In respect of these apps, the numbers are just as staggering. There are currently 2.87 million apps available for download in the Google Play Store, with the Apple App Store offering 1.96 million apps available for download.
In respect of the most popular store categories, the following statistics show which categories are the most popular. According to the amount of the percentage of which they are downloaded:
- Games with 21.86%.
- Business apps with 10.11%.
- Education apps with 8.68%.
- Lifestyle apps with 8.62%.
- Utility apps with 6.12%.
- Entertainment apps with 5.79%.
- Travel apps with 3.8%.
- Food and drink apps 3.57%.
- Health and fitness apps with 3.41%.
- Productivity apps with 3.08%.
- Finance apps with 2.45%.
- Shopping apps with 2.42%.
- Book apps with 2.39%.
- Music apps with 2.32%.
- Social networking apps with 2.28%.
- Sports apps with 2.14%.
In respect of paid versus free downloads, free app downloads exceed paid app downloads by quite a margin, and it’s estimated that 98% of the revenue globally comes from the downloads of free apps.
It’s expected that Wi-Fi hotspots will grow sevenfold from 2015 to 2020 and it’s expected that there will be 432.5 million public Wi-Fi hotspots in 2020 globally. It’s clear that these Wi-Fi hotspots have become quite prevalent, and they are found in everything from aircraft, taxis, hotels, and restaurants.
In respect of their usage, research shows that users do the following when connected to a public Wi-Fi network:
- 59% of users logged into their personal email accounts.
- 56% of users logged into their social media accounts.
- 44% of users shared photos or videos.
- 26% of users logged into a work email account.
- 25% of users checked their bank account or accessed financial information.
- 22% of users logged on to other accounts using a password.
- 22% of users shared the travel plans or location information.
- 19% of users sent a work document like planning documents or financials.
- 17% of users entered personally identifiable information like Social Security Numbers, birthdays or addresses.
- 16% of users provided credit card details when, for example, shopping online.
- 9% of users managed a connected home device like a thermostat, home entry system, or baby monitor.
The Future & Devices
The 2009 research focused on wireless Internet usage on either mobile devices or laptops. Times have changed, and there are now several other devices that can use wireless Internet. These include anything from smart TVs to smart watches, and connected appliances.
Internet of Things In respect of the Internet of things, it is forecast that the number of devices globally will almost triple from 8.74 billion 2020 to more than 25.4 billion devices in 2030. These devices are used in all types of industries and consumer markets, with the consumer segment currently accounting for around 60% of all connected devices and this percentage is expected to stay at this level for the next 10 years.
Prominent Industries The industries with currently more than 100 million connected devices include electricity, gas, steam, air-conditioning, water supply and waste management, retail and wholesale, transportation and storage, and government. Connected devices in these industries are expected to grow to more than 8 billion in 2030.
The most important use case for connected devices is in the consumer segment for consumer Internet and media devices like smart phones, said smart watches and other smart devices. In this segment, the connected devices are forecast to grow to more than 8 billion devices by 2030. Other use cases with more than 1 billion connected devices by 2030 include connected vehicles, IT infrastructure, asset tracking, and monitoring and smart grids.