NOVEMBER 16, 2011
While whites make up the lion’s share of US mobile phone and mobile internet users, a new eMarketer forecast estimates Hispanic, Asian and black mobile users in the US access the mobile internet more often than their white counterparts, and that they will continue to outpace whites in mobile internet adoption through 2015.
eMarketer estimates that about two-thirds of US mobile users will be white at the end of this year, decreasing to 64.1% to 2015 as black, Asian and Hispanic consumers inch upward in mobile adoption.
Whites have the highest penetration of mobile phone users throughout their population, at 78.3%, compared to 77.3% among Asians, 74% among blacks and a comparatively low 69.2% among Hispanics. All these groups will make gains in mobile ownership by 2015, with Hispanics posting the biggest rise, from 69.2% in 2011 to 73% mobile penetration that year.
But even now, minority mobile users are more likely to be on the mobile web than their white counterparts still relying on mobile for more traditional voice and text activities. More than half of Hispanics who own a mobile phone will use the mobile internet this year, and by 2015, that proportion will rise to 71.1%. Nearly as many black and Asian mobile users are mobile web users in 2011.
Among whites, the share drops to more like one-third, making white mobile owners nearly 17 percentage points less likely than their Hispanic counterparts to go online via mobile at least once per month this year. The disparity will continue, though white mobile users will close the gap somewhat by 2015.
One reason for minority mobile users’ likelihood to be online is their age. Overall, these populations are younger on average than whites, and thus more likely to adopt advanced phones and the mobile web. They are also more likely to rely on mobile in place of a landline.
eMarketer forms its forecasts of mobile users based on a meta-analysis of data from dozens of research sources, as well as the US Census.