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20 Percent of US Adults Aren’t Surfing the Web

10 June 2012 in Trading Ideas

Despite the nostalgic puffing seen on Mad Men, smoking among U.S. adults has dropped over the past 50 years to a level where fewer than one in five are consistently lighting up, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That puts smoking, depending on your geographic and cultural ties, comfortably into the territory of a behavior that’s not at all common, but certainly not rare.

Would it surprise you to know that in 2012 an equal share of the population considers the Internet irrelevant?

A recent survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project has shown that one in five Americans don’t use the Internet. Despite the democratic nature of online life, it’s not a huge surprise that the core group of web nonusers closely aligns with socioeconomic differences. Senior citizens, survey respondents who preferred using Spanish, adults with less than a high school education, and those living in households earning below $30,000 a year are least likely use the web, according to the survey’s results.

And the main reason? Almost half of those surveyed said they don’t find the Internet is relevant to their lives (wow, imagine that). Most have never used the web before, and don’t have anyone in their household who does. About one in five said they know enough technology to start using the Internet, but only one in 10 said they were interested in using the web or email in the future.

The survey, of course, in no way suggested there was much of a hiccup in broad technological adoption by U.S. households. Nielsen recently noted that half of U.S. consumers who use a cell phone now own a smartphone, up from 36% ownership in February 2010.

Does the Pew survey make you more or less bullish about mobile Internet stocks?