After discussing Internet demographics with one of my clients and comparing it to their target market, I’ve decided to write a blog article regarding the demographics of the average Internet user in the United States. As a marketing major and a business owner, I strongly believe that all business owners should understand their company’s target market and its general behavior online.

The first question any business owner should ask themselves is, What is my target market and what type of activity, if any do they have on the Internet?

I found out that the general demographic structure of the Internet is one of the most confused and misinterpreted parts of business marketing, especially among business owners who themselves don’t have much experience with the Internet. So to clarity and define--Based on the latest marketing research, 74% of the United States population, equally male and female, are online in the following age groups.

  • 93% of 18-29 year olds are online
  • 81% of 30-49 year olds are online
  • 70% of 50-64 year olds are online
  • and 38% of 65 + year olds are online

The second question business owners should ask to further narrow down their criteria is, What type of income would a household need to have in order to purchase my service or product and how does that criteria fit with Internet users? Based on the latest Internet demographic reports by the Pew Research Center, the following is the demographic breakdown for the average Internet user by household income:

  • 94% of individuals whose household income is above $75,000 are online
  • 83% of individuals whose household income between $50,000 - $74,999 are online
  • 76% of individuals whose household income between $30,000 - $49,000 are online
  • and 60% of individuals whose household income is below $30,000 are online

And to even further narrow down the demographic structure of the Internet users following are the levels of education:

  • 94% of individuals with a college degree or higher use the Internet
  • 87% of individuals with some college experience use the Internet
  • 63% of high school graduates use the Internet
  • and 39% of individuals without high school diploma use the Internet

Now, after having defined “average Internet user” the next question to ask is, What is the reason the average Internet user goes online?

  • 88% of Internet uses go online in order to use search engines to find information
  • 86% of users go online to get maps and driving directions
  • 81% of individuals go online to research product or service they are thinking about buying
  • 75% of users will go online to buy a product or order a service
  • 35% of users will go online to rate a product or a service they bought or used

Of course there is a lot more information and data that could be considered to further narrow down the demographic of the Internet user and his/her general behavior, but to summarize the above:

The majority of Internet users are equally male and female between 18-64 years of age, with household income over $30,000, and with at least a high school diploma. They use Internet to research businesses, products and services and make general purchases online. Therefore, if you’re a business owner who still thinks that your target market is not on the Internet and not doing business online to research or buy your products or services - you’re wrong.

The general rule in marketing says, “be” where your clients are. Not having a professional Internet presence to capture the your target market’s attention and present your product or service to them at the time of need simply means you’re missing out on a huge chunk of the market and potential sales.

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