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Home > Topics & Tools > Digital Media > Mobile > Mobile-exclusive use surges among young adults

Mobile-exclusive use surges among young adults

By Jim Conaghan, NAA vice president of research & industry analysis

The audience engaging with digital content offered by newspaper media reached a new all-time high, totaling 161 million adult unique visitors in March 2014. The count represents a 19% increase from the 135 million unique visitors measured by comScore in April 2013.

Overall, newspaper digital media reached nearly eight in ten (78%) online adults in the U.S. last month.

Young adults, those age 18-24, who use only mobile devices to access newspaper digital content showed the largest increase, rising by 146% in March 2014 from April last year (see table).

The data show that the increased use of mobile devices among all age groups is expanding the newspaper digital audience in a significant way. While the use of desktop or laptops as the only device for newspaper digital content declined for all age groups except for those 55 or older, all ages using mobile in some form grew substantially.

Audience growth has pushed up the net reach of newspaper digital content. In April 2013, 70% of the online adult audience engaged with newspaper digital content. Following a seasonal drop in May and June, the net reach grew to the new peak of 78% in March 2014.

By age, the net reach was highest among those 25-34, at 84%. Both the 35-44 and 45-54 age groups show the identical net reach of 79%, while the reach those age 55 or older was 77%. Among the youngest group, age 18-24, net reach was 71%.

Compared with April, 2013, net reach rose for all age groups, including the youngest adults (see chart). The reach percentage grew by 12 points for the 25-34 group, to 84% from 72%. It increased 10 point to 79% from 69% for the 35-44 group, and 8 points for the 45-54 group, to 79% from 71%. For those 55 and older, reach climbed 7 points to 77% from 70%. The 18-24 age group showed a 5 point gain in net reach, to 71% from 66%.

comScore’s multiplatform measurements — which show combined mobile and desktop, and mobile-exclusive users — launched early last year. These measurements offer an unduplicated count of the total audience, meaning that a visitor is counted once, even when they access content on multiple computers or devices. 

Note: The term mobile-only or mobile-exclusive refers to using only a smartphone or tablet, and not a desktop or laptop computer to access newspaper digital content during the month. Usage of the traditional printed newspaper is not captured in the comScore dataset.

First Published: April 28, 2014