KNOWLEDGE BASE Mobile - Internet Usage In The US

The information on this page was current at the time it was published. Regulations, trends, statistics, and other information are constantly changing. While we strive to update our Knowledge Base, we strongly suggest you use these pages as a general guide and be sure to verify any regulations, statistics, guidelines, or other information that are important to your efforts.


Mobile - Internet Usage in the United States

As you think about entering the United States to expand your market, build a business, and sell your product or service, one of the areas you will need to understand is the ‘digital landscape’, the ways in which mobile, the internet, and social media are used in the country. First, what is the digital infrastructure or networked readiness of the US? Is the government set up to support digital and do people use it? And you may want to know what percentage of the population owns a smartphone or an computer, and what activities are more likely to be done on each kind of device. And what about social media? Do people use it? If so, what social media platforms are favorites in the US? And do Americans purchase things online? What and with which devices?

Getting a sense for mobile and internet usage in the United States, and combined with what you know (or need to know) about your target market,  will help you better understand how your target market can be reached, how they  will find you on their own, and you will choose to present and promote your products and services.


The US Ranked #1 out of 134 countries in Networked Readiness Index

The question of whether the United States can be classified as a "digital country" is a pertinent one in today's technology-driven world. The World Economic Forum's Global Information Technology last report provides a comprehensive assessment through its Networked Readiness Index (NRI), which delves into the factors, policies, and institutions that empower a nation to fully harness the potential of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for enhanced competitiveness and societal well-being. The NRI findings reveal a compelling correlation between a country's level of ICT adoption and the transformative impacts ICTs have on its economy and society.

Having a strong digital infrastructure and networked readiness translates to a big impact on the economy and society, and means that companies in America can leverage digital to create new businesses and opportunities.



The internet has become an indispensable tool for communication, information, and entertainment, and Americans are among the world's most avid users. According to Pew Research Center, 93% of U.S. adults use the internet, and 87% of them use it on a daily basis. This widespread use is evident across all age groups, with 93% of 18-29-year-olds, 92% of 30-49-year-olds, 82% of 50-64-year-olds, and 67% of 65-and-older adults using the internet daily.


Table of internet usage frequency by age group in the United States, 2023

Age Group




Less Than Monthly






















People do many things online, including using search engines, checking email, looking for product information, and visiting social networks. Some activities, like watching videos and visiting social networks, are done more often on smartphones. But people are just as likely to use a smartphone or computer for other activities, like looking for product information and using search engines.

Google is the most popular search engine, with over 90% of page views. And while computers are still used for more web traffic than smartphones, smartphones are becoming more popular.

Based on Statcounter Global Stats for October 2023, the latest US top 5 search engines are:

  • Google: 92.94%

  • Bing: 2.75%

  • Yahoo: 1.64%

  • DuckDuckGo: 1.24%

  • Ecosia: 0.55%

Breakdown of the share of US web traffic page views by device type, based on Statcounter Global Stats for October 2023.

Device Type

Share of US Web Traffic Page Views










Globig Insights

  • Americans are online and they are looking for products and services - hopefully including yours - via the internet. Make sure you have a solid online presence that is compelling and pleasing for the American audience. By culturally localizing your product, service, app, and online presence, you increase your chances that people will find your offering relevant and comfortable for them. Read our sections on Product Localization to better understand what you can do to localize for the US, and go to the Globig Marketplace to find vendors and consultants who can help you put together a winning localization plan.

  • Americans are searching for information and doing product research online, often with a mobile device. Don’t design just for the computer. Have a mobile-friendly presence!

  • Do you have an SEO strategy? Is it for just your own country or are you also planning for the US and other countries? Google is the dominant search engine in the US and their primary objective is relevant search results. They will give preference to local websites to make searches more relevant within each country,  and also give preference to websites that have been localized for the people and language spoken there. Since you don’t want to be buried pages down in search results, make sure you have an international SEO strategy in place. Globig provides guidance on International SEO for the US, and if you need assistance with understanding and developing an SEO strategy, visit the Globig Marketplace where you can find vetted experts.

Connected Devices in the United States

A recent study conducted by Google revealed that the average American household owns 22 connected devices. This number has been steadily increasing in recent years, as more and more devices become connected to the internet.

Device Ownership

Smartphones are the most popular connected device in the US, with 85% of Americans owning one.

  • 74% of Americans own a laptop or desktop computer.

  • 45% of Americans own a tablet.

  • 35% of Americans own a smart speaker.

  • 25% of Americans own a smartwatch.

Device Usage

  • Smartphones are used for a wide variety of activities, including communication, social media, and internet browsing.

  • Laptops and desktop computers are still used for many tasks that require more power or a larger screen, such as work and gaming.

  • Tablets are often used for entertainment and light browsing.

  • Smart speakers are used for voice control, music playback, and news updates.

  • Smartwatches are used for fitness tracking, notifications, and quick access to apps.

The Future of Connected Devices

The number of connected devices in the US is expected to continue to grow in the coming years. This growth will be driven by the increasing popularity of smart home devices, wearable technology, and virtual reality devices.


Mobile Technology in the United States

Mobile technology has become an indispensable part of life in the United States. In 2023, there are 129.3 mobile subscriptions for every 100 people in the US, and nearly 87% of adults own a smartphone.

Smartphone ownership and usage have increased significantly in recent years. In 2011, only 31% of adults owned a smartphone. Today, smartphone ownership is nearly ubiquitous, with 95% of 18-29-year-olds, 92% of 30-49-year-olds, 82% of 50-64-year-olds, and 67% of 65+-year-olds owning a smartphone.

Americans are using their smartphones for a wider range of activities than ever before. In 2023, the average American adult spends over 5.2 hours per day on their smartphone. Smartphones are now the most common way for Americans to access the internet, go online for social media, and take photos and videos.

Smartphone ownership in the US, 2023, by age group.

Data shows that smartphone ownership is nearly ubiquitous in the United States, with the vast majority of adults in every age group owning a smartphone. Smartphone ownership is highest among younger adults, with 95% of 18-29-year-olds owning a smartphone. Smartphone ownership is also high among adults aged 30-49 (92%) and 50-64 (82%). Even among adults aged 65 and older, smartphone ownership is now 67%.


Globig Insights

Many Americans have smartphones today.

  • Smartphones are an important device for many Americans. As stated in the Internet section, make sure that you have a mobile strategy. Does your site look good on a mobile? Do you have an app? Is your mobile SEO ready to go?

    • More than 8 out of 10 in the 18-49 year old range have smartphones, and even nearly 1 in 3 who are 65+ have a smartphone

    • Nearly 50% are just as likely to use their smartphone as their a computer to use search engines or look for product information

    • Almost a third are just as likely to use their phone as a computer to purchase products and services online

If you need assistance in making your content mobile friendly or in developing a mobile strategy, you can find vetted vendors in the Globig Marketplace.


Social Media usage in the United States

Social media has become an integral part of American life. In 2023, nearly 77% of Americans have an active social media account, with 61% having an active mobile social media account. Americans spend an average of 2 hours and 27 minutes per day on social media, which is equivalent to more than 10% of their waking hours.


Social Media Usage by Age Group

Social media usage varies by age group. In 2023, 95% of 18-29-year-olds, 92% of 30-49-year-olds, 82% of 50-64-year-olds, and 67% of 65+-year-olds have an active social media account.


Popular Social Media Platforms

The most popular social media platforms in the United States are Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. In 2023, 74% of Americans use Facebook, 73% use YouTube, 37% use Instagram, and 29% use TikTok.


Impact of Social Media

Social media has had a significant impact on American society. It has changed the way people communicate, consume news, and engage with businesses. Social media has also been credited with helping to raise awareness of social issues and mobilizing people for social change.

According to Alexa's traffic rankings as of November 29, 2023, the top 10 websites in the United States are:

  1. Google

  2. YouTube

  3. Facebook

  4. Instagram

  5. Twitter

  6. Amazon

  7. Wikipedia

  8. Yahoo

  9. Netflix

  10. TikTok

(Be aware that you may see some variability in the list as the Alexa ranking is regularly updated.)

Facebook continues to hold a commanding position in the US social media landscape, with a 78.9% share of social media pageviews and a 44.3% share of visits. This dominance is driven by the platform's widespread adoption, with over 70% of Americans using Facebook. Mobile usage is also a significant factor, with nearly three-quarters of Facebook users accessing their accounts via mobile devices. Additionally, Facebook boasts high  engagement levels, with nearly half of users visiting the platform multiple times per day.


Top 10 social media websites in the United States based on share of visits according to the latest Experian marketing charts

Social Media Website

Share of Visits






















Table of Facebook usage frequency among U.S. adults in 2023

Frequency of use

Percentage of Facebook users



Several times a day


Once a day


Less than once a day



eMarketer's , breakdown of Twitter users by age group:2023 in the United States.

Age Group

Percentage of Twitter Users














Globig Insights

What does social media in the US mean for you?

Social media plays a big role in the daily lives of many Americans. As you will learn in other sections on the Globig site - check out our Research section, for instance - what you first need to understand is how your customers and prospects use social media. Are they digitally hooked teenagers or are they senior citizens who never go near it? If they do use social media, are they focused on Facebook or are they hooked on Twitter? Do they check in only occasionally or are they never far away?

Social media can be a powerful way to reach your target customers, and it is important that you understand if it’s meant for your customers. Take a look at our Social Media In The US section for more insights.

Be sure to find an agency in the US that understands how social media and your prospects and customers intersect, and who can help you use social media in a meaningful way. The Globig Marketplace can help you narrow down your search for the right marketing agency to help you with this complicated and powerful way to reach people.

Online purchase behavior in the United States

Americans use the internet in all phases of their online purchase process.  They are researching and gathering information, seeing online advertising, and looking for ideas and choices. And though they are using computers, smartphones, and tablets, computers are still the favorite device for both research and purchase.

Online shopping is booming. In 2023, 82% of Americans made an online purchase, and the average shopper spent $2,810 online. This is up from 79% of Americans who made an online purchase in 2022, and the average shopper spent $2,534 online.

Mobile shopping is on the rise. In 2023, 67% of Americans made a purchase on their smartphone, and 53% of Americans made a purchase on their tablet. This is up from 64% of Americans who made a purchase on their smartphone in 2022, and 49% of Americans who made a purchase on their tablet.

Social media is influencing online shopping. In 2023, 47% of Americans said that social media has influenced an online purchase they have made. This is up from 43% of Americans who said that social media has influenced an online purchase they have made in 2022.

Buy now, pay later (BNPL) is becoming more popular. In 2023, 41% of Americans have used a BNPL service, and 29% of Americans plan to use a BNPL service in the next six months. This is up from 36% of Americans who have used a BNPL service in 2022, and 26% of Americans who plan to use a BNPL service in the next six months.

These trends are likely to continue in the coming years. Online shopping is becoming increasingly convenient and popular, and social media and BNPL are playing a growing role in influencing online purchases.

Americans use the internet when they are considering a purchase - they could be looking for ideas, comparing options, getting advice, and even looking for the place that they will purchase the product offline. The internet is often used in the entire process.

Most Common Devices Used for Online Purchases in the US

According to the latest Google Consumer Barometer survey conducted in August 2023, the most commonly used device for making online purchases in the US is the smartphone, with 67% of respondents reporting using their smartphone for their most recent online purchase. This is followed by laptops at 53%, tablets at 34%, and desktop computers at 27%.

Preferred devices for online shopping based on product categories according to Google Consumer Barometer survey

Product Category

Most Commonly Used Device


Smartphone (73%)


Laptop/Desktop Computer (47%)


Laptop/Desktop Computer (52%)


Smartphone (78%)

Health and Beauty

Smartphone (69%)

Home Appliances

Laptop/Desktop Computer (54%)


Laptop/Desktop Computer (57%)


Laptop/Desktop Computer (51%)

Key Trends

  • Smartphones dominate apparel and grocery shopping: For fashion and everyday essentials, smartphones are the go-to device, reflecting their convenience and portability.

  • Laptops and desktops favored for bigger purchases: When it comes to larger or more considered purchases, like electronics, furniture, home appliances, and automotive, laptops and desktops are preferred due to their larger screens and more immersive shopping experience.

  • Travel planning often involves laptops: For planning and booking travel, laptops offer a more comprehensive experience, allowing users to compare options, browse destinations, and manage itineraries effectively.


The breakdown of device usage for online purchases varies by age group

Age Group




Desktop Computer
































US Online Shopping Trends by Generation

The rise of e-commerce has revolutionized the way people shop, and the US is no exception. While online shopping has become increasingly popular across all generations, there are still notable differences in how people of different ages use the internet to make purchases.

Older Generations and Online Shopping

For older generations, such as the Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) and the Silent Generation (born before 1946), online shopping is less prevalent than for younger generations. This is due to a variety of factors, including comfort with traditional shopping methods, concerns about security and privacy, and a lack of familiarity with technology.

According to the US Census Bureau, in 2022, only 58% of adults aged 65 and over made an online purchase in the past 12 months, compared to 91% of adults aged 18 to 29. Among those who did make online purchases, older adults were more likely to use desktop computers than smartphones or tablets.

Younger Generations and Online Shopping

Younger generations, such as Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) and Generation Z (born after 1996), are much more likely to shop online. This is due to their greater comfort with technology, their familiarity with online platforms, and their preference for convenience and flexibility.

According to the US Census Bureau, in 2022, 97% of adults aged 18 to 29 made an online purchase in the past 12 months, compared to 88% of adults aged 30 to 49 and 77% of adults aged 50 to 64. Among those who did make online purchases, younger adults were more likely to use smartphones and tablets than desktop computers.

The Future of Online Shopping

As younger generations age and their digital habits become more ingrained, it is likely that online shopping will continue to grow in popularity among older generations as well. Additionally, as technology continues to advance and online platforms become more user-friendly, even the most tech-averse individuals may find themselves making more purchases online. And what seems to hold the most sway in getting people to shop online? Free shipping, and for all generations. But if you get stingy and only offer free returns if there’s not a store nearby, you’ll be driving a lot fewer online sales.



Globig Insights

Americans do make purchases online, their likelihood depending on the product category, their generation, and the kinds of devices they use.

Consider your product or service category, your target market, how they interact with the internet, their likelihood of purchasing online, and if so, what device they are likely to use.

Because people use the internet at all phases of the process, from looking for ideas and inspiration, to comparing options, getting advice, and ultimately purchasing online or finding a location to purchase offline, your online presence is important. You want your product or service to be easily found through searches, to have meaningful, localized content, and to be accessible in multiple formats.


Here’s another great resource for analytics on mobile and internet usage in the United States

Google has also compiled a great deal of searchable information regarding the online world in its Google Consumer Insights research. Google provides a wealth of information in the use of devices and the internet and how Americans use them to research and make purchase decisions.  There are many ways to analyze and interpret the information, much of which can be useful in guiding your online strategy. You can use the Google Consumer Insights research to further analyze behavior, both with their key insights and option to use their graph builder.  Just filter down on the country or countries you are interested in.


The Google Consumer Barometer provides insights into the most common online activities performed by US adults on their devices. Here's a breakdown of the top weekly activities by device:

Top Weekly Online Activities in the US by Device





Using search engines




Checking email




Visiting social media




Watching online videos




Playing online games




Listening to music online




Checking the news




Shopping online




Using online banking




Using online maps and directions





Key Trends

  • Smartphones dominate everyday online activities: For most common online activities, like searching, checking email, and social media, smartphones are the preferred device due to their portability and convenience.

  • Laptops and tablets offer a more immersive experience: For activities that require a larger screen or more focused attention, like watching videos, playing games, and consuming news, laptops and tablets are preferred.

  • Online banking and maps are device agnostic: For tasks like online banking and navigation, users tend to choose the device that is most readily available, regardless of type.

The Google Consumer Insights site is very straightforward and you can use it to search on parameters such as:

  • Internet usage and segmentation

  • Connected devices and device usage

  • Online shopping behaviors

  • Online video viewing

  • Apply filters for demographics groups

Importance of Online Presence and Device Usage in the US

The Google Consumer Insights consistently highlights the significance of a strong online presence for businesses, emphasizing its role in both go-to-market strategies and ongoing sales and marketing efforts. In the United States, internet usage plays a crucial role in consumer purchasing decisions, with individuals relying heavily on online resources to gather information and make informed choices.

Multi-Device Engagement for Purchase Decisions

Consumers utilize a variety of devices to conduct pre-purchase research, with computers, smartphones, and tablets each playing a distinct role:

  • Computers: 79% of consumers use computers to gather information for upcoming purchases.

  • Smartphones: Smartphones are heavily utilized throughout the purchasing process, with 30% of consumers using them for inspiration, 36% for comparison shopping, 35% for seeking advice, and 32% for preparing for immediate offline purchases.

  • Tablets: Tablets are used by 16% of consumers for researching upcoming purchases.

Mobile-Friendliness is Essential

Given the widespread use of smartphones across all phases of the purchase journey, businesses must prioritize mobile-friendliness in their online strategies. This ensures that consumers can seamlessly access and interact with your brand's online presence, regardless of their chosen device.

Staying Informed and Tailoring Strategies

To effectively reach your target market and adapt your strategies to evolving trends, it's essential to stay informed about the latest insights into mobile and internet usage in the United States.


Global Information Technology Report - Full Report

Google Consumer Barometer

Digital Nation Data Explorer: National Telecommunications & Information Administration

Pew Research Center

US Census Bureau

Federal Communications Commission

eMarketer: US Ecommerce by Category Forecast 2023

eMarketer:US Time Spent With Social Media 2023

Google Trends 

KNOWLEDGE BASE Mobile - Internet Usage In The US