Internet usage in the United States - Statistics & Facts

With nearly 290 million internet users as of 2016, the United States is one of largest online markets worldwide. About 74.5 percent of the U.S. population accessed the internet as of 2015. While internet adoption in the U.S. 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 2016 with 18 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 activities among adult users in the U.S. Nearly 70 percent of mobile phone users accessed the internet through their mobile devices in 2016. This share is forecast to add up to 80.6 percent by 2021. As of 2016, Americans spent half of their digital media time on smartphone apps. Tablet apps accounted for nine percent of their time, and smartphone browser held seven percent of the share. Recent research shows that Americans spend the majority of their daily mobile online time on apps. Smartphone users in the U.S. 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 about 80 percent user reach.

Social networking is a common activity among internet users in the United States. About 81 percent of the U.S. population had a social media profile in 2016. 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 35.38 million unique active users as of February 2017.

Online shopping is also a very popular online activity amongst internet users in the U.S. In 2016, the number of digital buyers in the United States stood at an estimate of 179 million. Forecast shows that this figure is expected to increase to 195 million by 2019. Leading online retail websites in the country include Amazon, eBay, Walmart and Apple. Mobile commerce is also growing aggressively. Revenue of mobile retail commerce in the country is forecast to approximately double between 2016 and 2020. There will be about 162.8 million mobile buyers in the U.S. by 2019, up from about 121.7 million mobile buyers in 2015. Amazon has the most popular mobile shopping app in the U.S. with around 64.4 million monthly users as of 2016. Walmart and Checkout 51 ranked second and third respectively.

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