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Pew Internet Survey Findings “Search and Email” Top Online Activities

A new internet survey finds that 92% of online adults use search engines to find information on the Web, including 59% who do so on a typical day. “This places search at the top of the list of most popular online activities among U.S. adults. But it is not alone at the top. Among online adults, 92% use email, with 61% using it on an average day, revealed May 2011 Pew Internet survey.

This latest survey on search was conducted from April 26 through May 22, 2011 and had a sample of 2,277 adults, those 18 years and older.

Here’s the trend chart from the survey:

You can see from the chart that both email and search have been the most popular internet activities since Pew has run these type of surveys back in 2002. Of course, the internet population has grown substantially since 2002, so as the users of both email and search engines. In Jan 2002, 52% Americans used search engines that grew to 72%, and 55% used email and that grew to 70%.

Today, roughly six in ten online adults engage in each of these activities on a typical day; in 2002, 49% of online adults used email each day, while just 29% used a search engine daily.

Search is most popular among the youngest adult internet users (age 18-29), 96% of whom use search engines to find information online. But even the oldest internet users (age 65+), 87% are search engine users.

Pew also provided a demographic breakdown of search usage (one of email usage is also included in the survey):

Both African-American and Hispanic adults (31% v. 23% v. 19%, respectively) to report using a search engine “yesterday.”

White online adults are significantly more likely than both African-American and Hispanic online adults to be email users on a typical day (63% v. 48% v. 53%, respectively).

In 2002, college graduates were the most likely to use email, as were adults with household incomes of $75,000 or more.

In other activities, getting online news (76%) has held overtaking buying products online (71%) for the second year running.

Especially notable is that social networking use has continued rising out of nowhere to 65%. That seems likely to move higher in future years.

From the breakdown, daily searching is most popular with:

  • Men, 61% versus 57% of women
  • Whites, 60% versus 57% of African Americans and 48% of Hispanics
  • 18-29 year-olds, 66% versus 64% for 30-49 year-olds, 52% of 50-64 year-olds and 37% of those 65 years or older
  • College graduates, 75% versus 66% with some college education, 41% of high school grads and 29% with some high school education
  • Those earning $75,000 or more, 78%, versus $30-$45,000 at 67%, $50-$75,000 at 66% and less than $30,000 at 38%

The complete Pew internet survey is embedded below for online reading, and for offline you can download the survery report using the link under:

You can download Pew report here. (pdf)

[Source: Pew Internet]

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