The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) in collaboration with The Economist Group recently published the results of a study on the increasing number of people owning mobile devices in the United States.
The report, which was conducted from June to August this year, has 9,513 U.S. adults as respondents. 4,638 of these own mobile devices. Its purpose was to examine the news habits of mobile devices, look into the financial implications of these habits, and lastly, gain more insights on smartphone users.
The study found that 50% of U.S. adults own either a smartphone or a tablet PC. Furthermore, 22% of U.S. adults possess a tablet, which is twice the number that was reported last year. 3% of adults also have access to a tablet owned by someone else in a household. Meanwhile, 23% of those who still do not have said mobile device are interested in purchasing one within the next six months. As for smartphones, 44% of American adults own the device, as compared to 35% in May last year.
Those who own tablets or smartphones consider their devices to be important for news, e-mail, as well as games. Among these, however, news takes the top spot, while e-mail is second, for smartphone users. Around 60% of tablet or smartphone owners access news on their mobile devices, at the very least on a weekly basis. Four out of ten users have reported that they are getting more news now thanks to their mobile devices than in the past. It is also a growing trend for mobile device users to read longer news articles. Browsers appear to be more preferred by users in reading news than news apps, making it difficult for publishers to encourage users to pay for content on the apps. Many of those who do pay for news subscriptions still prefer the print format versus the digital versions. However, younger consumers appear to be more open to paying to digital subscriptions. This could mean that eventually, digital subscriptions will gain more acceptance.
The study is expected to be useful for industry leaders in publication and advertising, as well as mobile device manufacturers, in general.