One in two Americans are accessing their news via mobiles and tablets

Nearly half (47%) of US adults access local news and information via mobile phones or tablet devices finds a new survey.

The latest report “How mobile devices are changing community information environments” published by the Pew Internet & American Life Project looks at the way US adults are using mobile and follows up a report on the same subject from five years ago and the changes are huge.

  • 51% use six or more different sources or platforms monthly to get local news and information (vs. 21% five years ago)
  • 75% use social network sites (vs. 42%)
  • 15% use Twitter (vs. 4%)

Pew also found that despite the tablet market’s relative youth it’s already making big inroads into the US mobile culture. The survey finds that tablet computers such as the iPad, have become one of the most quickly adopted consumer goods of the recent era; tablet penetration almost doubled in just four months’ time, from 4% to 7% now.

As well as 47% of US adults accessing local news and information on the mobile web, users are also actively looking for other basic information, 42% of respondents report seeking weather updates, and 37% look for information on nearby restaurants and other local businesses.

Apps play a big part for US mobile users. One-quarter (24%) of mobile local news consumers report having an app that helps them get information or news about their local community. That equates to 13% of all device owners and 11% of the total American adult population. Thus while nearly 5 in 10 get local news on mobile devices, just 1 in 10 use apps to do so. Pew call this the “app gap.”