According to new survey data from the Pew Research Center, 15 percent of US adults don’t use the Internet or email. If there are roughly 250 million adults in the US, that would mean just under 38 million people are “non-Internet users.”
Pew’s survey data reflect that most of the non-Internet users are over 50 with the largest group in the over 65 age category. They’re also less educated and less affluent than the online population:
Internet use remains strongly correlated with age, educational attainment, and household income. One of the strongest patterns in the data on internet use is by age group: 44% of Americans ages 65 and older do not use the internet, and these older Americans make up almost half (49%) of non-internet users overall.
In terms of the reasons for not going online, Pew found the following:
- 34 percent believe the Internet isn’t relevant to their lives; they have no interest or need
- 32 percent say it’s challenging or frustrating to go online; some of these people are also afraid of “spam, spyware, and hackers”
- 19 percent don’t want or can’t afford to pay for a computer and the associated access cost
- 7 percent “cited a physical lack of availability or access to the Internet”
Some of these non-Internet users (44 percent) have asked family/friends to go online for them. Another group (23 percent) live in households where the Internet is available. And another contingent (14 percent) are ex-Internet users.
Most of these non-users are quite content to remain offline, with only 8 percent saying they would like to go online or use email. What that then suggests is that US Internet penetration has reached almost all of the “addressable market.”