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If you work in a digital industry, the ubiquity of the internet is practically taken for granted. But that doesn't mean that the percentage of consumers accessing the internet on a regular basis isn't impressive. And it doesn't mean that percentage isn't growing.
In fact, according to Forrester Research, the number of adults in the United States who access the internet on a daily basis is growing more than one might imagine.
In 2012, Forrester says that nearly half of adults in the U.S. owned a smart phone and just under a fifth owned a tablet. The tablet ownership figure has doubled in the past year alone.
Perhaps even more surprising: a sizable percentage (43%) of consumers have access to the web through a television, either through a gaming console, connected TV or set-top box.
With consumers growing the number of devices they own through which they can access the internet, it's no surprise that more and more of them are going online on a daily basis. In 2011, 78% of U.S. adults reported accessing the internet daily. This year, that figure has jumped to 84%. While that may not seem significant, a 7% jump in daily internet usage in a market as big and mature as the United States is impressive.
Where opportunity lies
Obviously, more people using the internet more frequently is good news for entrepreneurs and businesses active online. But even if a rising tide lifts all boats, where are the greatest opportunities to capitalize?
According to Forrester, consumers between the ages of 18 and 23 are significantly more likely to own both a tablet and smart phone, making them a can't-ignore demographic. Not surprisingly, they're very active on social networks, with 70% of them logging onto sites like Facebook daily, but given the still-unresolved issues around social media monetization and ROI, it may be more difficult to turn this group's online usage into revenue.
The good news: Gen X'ers between the ages of 33 and 46 spent $112 more this year on online purchases than the general internet population, and their online usage patterns aren't too far off from their younger siblings. And although more financially stable Baby Boomers and seniors are still far more likely to access the web through desktop computers, and less frequently, their adoption of smart phones and tablets is growing significantly too, validating the fact that business simply can't ignore the changing face of the web.