Home Combatting the Hype: 76% Don’t Access the Mobile Internet

Combatting the Hype: 76% Don’t Access the Mobile Internet

A host of reasons conspire against the general population in whether or not they use a cell phone – smart or otherwise – to use the Internet. According to research by UK-based Essential Research, 76% of mobile phone users don’t use their mobile to access the Internet, and there are several barriers keeping them from doing so, whether actual or perceived.

The study, which focused on 2,000 people over the age of 16 living in the UK, found, among other things, that only 10% of mobile phone owners access the Internet on a daily basis. How can this be and why?

The Majority: Unconnected and Unconcerned

While we might wonder who wouldn’t want to have GPS-enabled Google Maps at their fingertips while they’re out and about, or the ability to unchain themselves from a desk and still respond to those important work emails, the study finds that 60% of respondents claim their phone is not capable of accessing the Internet and just 30% of those respondents would like to change this fact.

Even the most basic phones offered these days have Internet capabilities, but the fact that people believe they don’t is key. In actuality, of those questioned, nearly 90% had at least GPRS Internet connectivity. How can you lead a horse to water if the horse doesn’t believe there’s a path down to the stream?

In addition to this, cost and perceived usefulness are two of the biggest factors in keeping the mobile Web at bay. Over three quarters of respondents said that they thought it was too expensive to use, while 60% said that the effort necessary to learn how to use a smart phone wasn’t worth it to them.

Who Is Using the Mobile Web?

A majority of mobile Internet users are young, affluent, urban-dwelling professionals. They are on average between the ages of 16 and 34, living in a city and making more than $65,000 a year. Nearly three quarters of daily users are professionals.

Unsurprisingly, one of the biggest drivers of mobile Internet use is social media – Web sites like Facebook and Twitter. For daily mobile-Internet users, 70% user their phones to access social networking sites.

Overall, the study seems to contrast the general hype around mobile Internet and serve as a gentle reminder that, while we may surround ourselves with the technologically affluent, this isn’t yet the norm for the whole of society. There is a definite demographic that uses the Internet on their mobile phones and, outside of that, it remains a costly, unusable and unavailable option in the public’s eyes.

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