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U.S. Market Internet User Segmentation Mix


The demographic mix of Americans capable of using the Internet continues to evolve. With 71 percent of Americans using the Internet (from any location) at least once per month in 2010 -- U.S. Internet users now better resemble the general population.

Overall, eMarketer forecasts the number of monthly Internet users in the U.S. will rise to 250.7 million in 2014, up from 221 million in 2010.

More than one-half of new (novice) users will be ages 45 and up, as many of the remaining laggards join the mainstream. Among younger groups, the Internet is nearly ubiquitous, and most who are able to access it already do so -- leaving limited potential for new growth.

eMarketer expects significant increases in usage applications among children ages 3 to 11, as technology becomes a part of people's lives at increasingly younger ages.

Currently, the 12- to 24-year-old segment represents a major bloc of users at 51.7 million -- or 23.4 percent of the total. By 2014, though, their total share will decline to 21.3 percent, even as their numbers increase to 53.5 million people.

Meanwhile, the 45 and older segment will grow from 35 to 38.3 percent of total users -- aligning with their relative share in the overall U.S. population. However, eMarketer says that while older groups will occupy a larger share of monthly Internet users, that simplistic metric is becoming antiquated.

Younger groups have already entered a new phase of always-on Internet use, where the Web never leaves their side and is accessible 24/7 through their phone or other devices. Those 34 and under will continue to be the most engaged and most active producers of content online.

Moreover, the widdening "experience gap" between older late-adopters and younger early-adopters will be significant. Therefore, I'm wondering, how will America compete in the Global Networked Economy if a sizable portion of the population lacks the skills for 21st Century business needs?

How will U.S. commercial innovation be impacted, as a result of the ICT skills deficit?

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