Internet usage in the United States - Statistics & Facts

Published by J. Clement, Jun 4, 2018
With nearly 290 million internet users as of 2016, the United States is one of largest online markets worldwide. About 76.2 percent of the U.S. population accessed the internet as of 2016. While internet adoption in the United States is equal amongst both genders, online usage increases among demographic groups with higher levels of education and income. The United States are also one of the highest-ranked countries in terms of internet freedom, ranking fourth in the Freedom House Index of 2017 with 21 points.

Internet users in the United States often turn to their mobile devices to access the internet. Accessing the internet is indeed the most popular smartphone activity among adult users in the country. Over 72 percent of mobile phone users accessed the internet through their mobile devices in 2017. This share is forecast to add up to 80.6 percent by 2021. As of 2017, Americans spent half of their digital media time on smartphone apps. Tablet apps accounted for seven percent of their time, as did smartphone browsers. Recent research shows that Americans spend the majority of their daily mobile online time on apps. Smartphone users in the United States spent 85.7 percent of their mobile online time on apps, and tablet users spend about 76.5 percent of their time. The most popular app among U.S. smartphone audiences is Facebook with just over 80 percent user reach.

Social networking is a common activity among internet users in the United States. A total of 81 percent of the U.S. population had a social media profile in 2017. With a market share of 42 percent of all social networking site visits in the country, social network Facebook is the most popular social media entity in the U.S. across different age groups. Other popular social platforms include YouTube, Google+, Twitter as well as image-oriented networks Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr. In terms of messaging apps, Snapchat is already the third most popular mobile messaging app with 48.67 million unique active users as of February 2018.

Internet usage in the U.S. is frequent, with 43 percent of surveyed adults saying that they used the internet several times a day as of February 2018, compared to just eight percent who said they accessed the internet about once a day. In fact, 39 percent of 18-29 year old respondents to the survey said that they are online almost constantly. As of 2017, the most popular daily online activity of adult internet users in the United States. was sending or reading e-mails, and the number of e-mail users in the U.S. is forecast to surpass 254 million by 2020.

Online shopping is also a very popular online activity amongst internet users in the United States. In 2017, the number of digital buyers in the U.S. stood at an estimate of 184.4 million. Forecast shows that this figure is expected to increase to over 192 million by 2019. Leading online retail websites in the country include Amazon, Walmart, eBay, Target and Apple. Mobile commerce is also growing aggressively. Revenue of mobile retail commerce in the country is forecast to more than double between 2017 and 2021. There will be about 162.8 million mobile buyers in the U.S. by 2019, up from about 136.3 million mobile buyers in 2016. Amazon has the most popular mobile shopping app in the U.S. with just over 133 million monthly users as of February 2018. Walmart and eBay ranked second and third respectively.

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Internet usage in the United States

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Online Users

Mobile Internet and Apps

Social Media

Online and Mobile Commerce

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