Fifteen years ago, about half of Americans never went online. Now, 85 percent of us use the Internet regularly, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center.
For Millenials (ages 18-29) and households with the highest spending power (incomes of +$75,000), virtually everyone in the country is online. People most likely to be nonusers were the elderly, people who had not graduated high school and people whose annual family income grossed less than $30,000.
What is surprising, however, is how the use of technology among the elderly has changed. More than 60 percent of people ages 65 and older are online, and a full 82 percent of the ones who use smartphones say their phones represent freedom, according to another recent Pew report. Among people ages 30 and younger who use smartphones, 36 percent say their phones feel like a leash.
If anything is certain, it’s that most of the customers and potential customers for any business are online. Statistics about commerce on the Internet bear it out.
In the U.S. in 2014, almost three quarters of people shopped online, according to eMarketer, a market research company that compares scientific studies from multiple outside groups. The researchers predicted that feature would reach almost 80 percent by 2018. That same year, almost half the world population will do the same, according to the report.
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