In a guest Wall Street Journal op-ed Monday, Lucy Hood, executive director of the Institute for Communication Technology Management at the Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California, discussed the impact of smartphones and pre-paid or no-contract mobile plans on minority access to the Internet.
Citing recent Pew and USC’s Institute for Communication Technology Management studies, a clear trend continues to show that 60% of Latino, and Black smartphone users access the Internet through their phones.
In 2010, prepaid plans accounted for 10% of the $160 billion in revenues generated by the mobile-phone market… — Lucy Hood
Some Additional Statistics:
- 26% of whites own smartphones while 37% of black and fully 46% of Latinos are owners
- In the past year, new pre-paid subscribers increased at a rate double of traditional plan users, 6.9 million vs 3.6 million
- Buying things with a smartphone, mobile commerce or “m-commerce” is 50% higher amongst black and Latinos
These trends are eye-opening in that they show who consumer segments utilizing a mobile device instead of a traditional desktop or laptop PC. Clearly the availability of lost-cost, subsidized plans and an ever-widening selection of smartphones, primarily Android-powered, is making a big difference. These communities are becoming the leaders in mobile web consumption.
How this affects your clients and their marketing efforts is worth considering. For example, with this user demographic, what is the role of a traditional desktop-formatted website? Is it the primary or secondary information source? What obligations do local, state and federal web sites have to ensure the minority community is served with accessible content if there is no PC involved?
These are important questions and ones that should be discussed today. In a very short time, certainly by 2015, nearly all Americans who want a smartphone will have one and the primary method of Internet access will have decisively shifted to mobile.