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2014 RJI Mobile Media Research Report 2

While the percentage of U.S. adults who use smartphones and/or tablets continues to grow, the use of mobile media by people aged 55 or older, who now represent more than 60 percent of non-users, will be a critical factor in future growth according to the latest Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) mobile media poll.

Current mobile media users tend to be significantly younger and much more affluent than non-users. Survey participants who were mobile media users had an average age of 42; for non-users the average age was 56. Half of mobile media users said they had annual household incomes in excess of $75,000. By comparison, about 80 percent of non-users had incomes less than $75,000. Other factors, such as education, employment and location also differentiated mobile users from non-users (see charts 2.1 and 2.2).

As might be expected, mobile users and non-users in the 55 or older age group indicated that printed newspapers and broadcast/cable television were still their main sources for news. They also were the least likely to purchase new smartphones in 2014. Only 15 percent of mobile users and 9 percent of non-users in this age group said they were likely to purchase large tablets in 2014.

Nearly 1,200 randomly selected U.S. adults participated in RJI’s third annual Mobile Media News Consumption survey between Jan. 1 and March 31. This phone survey focused exclusively on the use of smartphones and touch-screen tablets with mobile operating systems. RJI’s two previous surveys included questions about the use of e-readers and other Internet-enabled mobile devices, such as netbooks, tablet PCs, hand-held computers, and ultra-light notebooks. Among RJI’s other findings about mobile media devices:

  • About two-thirds of mobile users and half of non-users said they no longer had landline phones in their homes. Cellphones were used in the homes of nearly all survey participants, but only a quarter of the cellphones in the homes of participants who did not use mobile media were smartphones. By comparison, 96 percent of cellphones in the homes of mobile users were smartphones (see chart 2.4).
  • Mobile users and non-users were about equally inclined to read stories and look at ads in newspapers, watch news on TV sets and listen to news on radios. However, mobile users were much more likely to access news on personal computers (see chart 2.5).
  • About half of the newspaper readers who did not use mobile media said they spent more than 20 minutes on a typical day reading stories in newspapers. By comparison, slightly more than one-third of mobile users who were newspaper readers said they spent more than 20 minutes on a typical day reading stories in newspapers. Non-mobile users also spent more time than mobile users consuming news on television sets, radios and personal computers (see chart 2.6).
  • More than half of participants overall said broadcast and cable news programs were their main sources of news. The 18-34 age group was the only one in which websites and social media (combined) were considered the main sources for national and international news by a higher percentage of participants (see charts 2.72.10).
  • About 30 percent of current mobile users and 20 percent of non-users said they were likely to purchase new smartphones before the end of 2014. About one-third of mobile users and non-users in the 18-34 age group expected to purchase new smartphones. Only 14 percent of non-users in the 55 or older age group were planning to purchase new smartphones (see charts 2.11 and 2.12).
  • About 15 percent of current mobile users and 10 percent of non-users said they were likely to purchase large media tablets in 2014. Only 6 percent of mobile users and 3 percent of non-users said they were planning to purchase mini tablets (see charts 2.11 and 2.12).
  • The Apple iPhone and iPads (large and mini) were the brands that current smartphone and tablet users said they were most likely to purchase. Among current non-users who were planning to purchase new smartphones, Samsung-branded smartphones topped the Apple iPhone. About one-third of non-users said they were likely to purchase Apple iPad tablets (both sizes). However, more than a third of non-users who said they were likely to purchase smartphones and/or tablets indicated they had not decided what types they might purchase (see charts 2.11 and 2.12).

Roger Fidler  
 
Program Director for Digital Publishing (Retired)



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