Twenty-one percent of America‘s adult population is a big market—an audience marketers would be unlikely to shun. But perhaps they overlook it as they seek to exploit the latest iterations of the Internet. Odd as it may seem to the Web-obsessed, a report issued this month by the Pew Research Center‘s Internet & American Life Project says 21 percent of U.S. adults don’t use the Internet at all.
Among respondents to the poll (conducted in April and May) who identified themselves as online abstainers, just 10 percent said they’d like to start using the Internet or e-mail in the future—a figure Pew says is largely unchanged since the organization began polling on this topic in 2002. The chart gives a sense of why non-users are non-users.
While many non-users have little or no exposure to the Internet and would need help getting online if they decided to take the plunge, 22 percent of them used the Internet or e-mail in the past but have stopped doing so.
Back in the wired world, the same report notes what it headlines as “A Big Slowdown” in adoption of broadband, after years of growth. The current survey found 66 percent of respondents have a high-speed Internet connection at home, up just marginally from 63 percent saying so around the same time last year.