The infamous “digital divide” is finally showing real signs of narrowing, as more and more research gives evidence of rising home broadband usage among black adults.
“The black internet population is young and predominantly female,” said Lisa E. Phillips, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report “Blacks Online: Young, Mobile and Social.” “They are bridging the digital divide wirelessly, with higher rates of mobile phone ownership and wireless internet access.”
eMarketer estimates that nearly 64% of the black population, or 24.2 million people, is online in 2010, and over 72% will be in 2014. Those figures are decidedly lower than those for the total US population, 71% of which eMarketer estimates is online in 2010.
At least two factors could alter this situation in the near future. First, the US Census Bureau will begin reporting detailed results of the 2010 census next year. The second is the strong growth of 22% in broadband connections among black adults recorded in 2010 by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
According to The Media Audit, the internet now rivals television in daily media use among blacks. The web is not far behind in time spent, either—black consumers reported spending nearly 4 hours 22 minutes online per day in 2010, compared with about 4 hours 43 minutes watching TV.
Black users are more active than average on the social web, eager to try to influence others in their network. And in the realm of mobile, blacks have adopted devices more quickly, participate in more content activities and are more likely to use the mobile web as an important internet access point.
“Marketers that do not have a mobile strategy to reach black consumers are being left behind by the competition and ignored by this market,” said Phillips. “Multicultural groups were already using their cellphones to stay informed, learn about events and developments during the 2008 presidential campaign. Their mobile savvy has only increased since, expanding with the introduction of new technology and features.”
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