The Center for the Digital Future at USC’s Annenberg School has just released the ninth report of it’s Surveying the Digital Future, The Digital Future Project 2010, “nine years of longitudinal research compris[ing] an absolutely unique data base that completely captures broadband at home, the wireless Internet, on-line media, user-generated content and social networking. As usual, the report continues to track off-line media use, purchasing both off-line and through e-commerce, social and political activity and a wealth of other data.”
You can access summary data at the site or avail yourself of the whole 203- page report in the ASC Library. Among the study’s findings:
* Americans on the Internet — For the first time, the Internet is used by more than 80 percent of Americans — now 82 percent.
* Weekly hours online — The average time online has now reached 19 hours per week. Although more than two-thirds of Americans have gone online for a decade, the largest year-to-year increases in weekly online use have been reported in the two most recent Digital Future studies.
* Gaps in Internet use in age groups — Not surprisingly, Internet use continues to increase as age decreases, with 100 percent of those under age 24 going online. However, a surprisingly high percentage of Americans between 36 and 55 are not Internet users: among respondents age 46 to 55, 19 percent are non-users; among those 36 to 45, 15 percent are non-users.
* Low adoption of new media — Although new media is used by large percentages of Internet users age 24 and under, overall large percentages of Internet users never go online to do instant messaging (50 percent), work on a blog (79 percent), participate in chat rooms (80 percent), or make or receive phone calls (85 percent).
* Does technology make the world a better place — The percentage of users age 16 and older who said that communication technology makes the world a better place has declined to 56 percent of users from its peak of 66 percent in 2002.
* Internet and Political Campaigns — although more than 70 percent of users agree that the Internet is important for political campaigns, only 27 percent of users said that by using the Internet public officials will care more about what people think, and 29 percent said that the Internet can give people more of a say in what government does.
* Buying online — 65 percent of adult Internet users buy online (the same as in 2008), and make an average of 35.2 purchases per year (up from 34.1 per year in 2008).
* Internet impact on traditional retail declines — 61 percent of Internet users said that online purchasing has reduced their buying in traditional retail stores — down from 69 percent in 2008.
* Top 10 online purchases — 59 percent of Internet users said they purchase books or clothes online, followed by gifts (55 percent), travel (53 percent), electronics/appliances (47 percent), videos (46 percent), computers or peripherals (41 percent), software or games (40 percent), CDs (40 percent), and products for hobbies (38 percent).