U.S. Internet Growth Flattens

By Agence France-Presse The percentage of regular U.S. Internet users has flattened at 63% of the adult population, a survey showed. The survey by Mediamark Research Inc. found 79.5% of U.S. adults have access to the Internet at home, work or other location, but that some do not use the Web. They were disproportionately older than average or members of minority groups. The data based on 26,000 interviews found that 63% of adults had used an online service or the Internet in the last 30 days. Although the Internet-using population continues to increase, the survey results over an eight-year period show that growth has slowed considerably. The number of users had been growing at a pace of 4% to 7% per month from late 1997 to early 2000, and then between 2% and 3% per month through early 2002. In the 12-month period to April 2004, Internet and online users increased by just 1.7% over the same period a year earlier, compared with an 11.3% average increase between 1999 and 2000. "Suggesting a long-term plateau in growth, our data show there is an entrenched group of non-connected adults and a diehard group of resistors that promise to hold out for the foreseeable future," said Andy Arthur, vice president of client services at MRI. Only about 20% in the group were labeled "unconnected," without any Internet access. The remainder said they had no compelling reason to go online. "So as a medium for reaching U.S. adults on a regular basis, the Internet may well be at saturation, with just under two-thirds of the population genuinely online," said Arthur. "Internet resistors remain a stubborn, stable group of holdouts, while the unconnected have become increasingly difficult to convert for reasons related to age, language and disposable income." Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2004

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