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Health Care Key Findings – Nov/Dec 2009

Heavy Mobile Web Users Online Consumer Reviews Drive Sales
Defining Sustainability Global Warming Concerns Growing
Family Time Down Due to Internet Chronic Health Conditions Not Being Treated
Americans Multitasking Habits Women Using Social Media


  • Almost three in 10 Americans (29%) say that the recession added stress or completely ruined their romantic relationships, compared to 24% of the French, 23% of Canadians, and 12% of Germans.
  • More than one-third of cell phone users (38%) have sent a text message to the wrong person, and 37% report that a text they sent was misunderstood by the reader.
  • Most workers (64%) don’t know how much their employer pays towards their health insurance each month, and 27% don’t know what they themselves pay.

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Heavy Mobile Web Users

The US mobile Internet population is growing rapidly. For example, some 29.2% of mobile phone users logged onto the mobile Web at least once per month in 2009, compared to 22.3% in 2008. Many of these are considered heavy users: those who go online via mobile more than 10 times per week.

One in five (21%) US mobile users qualify as heavy mobile Internet users in 2009, up from less than 15% in 2008. In addition, the overall average number of monthly mobile Web sessions has doubled in that time period.

Heavy users of text messaging and mobile e-mail have also grown over the past year; nearly one-half of mobile users text more than 10 times weekly, while one in five send and receive more than 10 mobile e-mails per week.

Overall, users are becoming more active across many mobile activities except in non-local searches for products and services. Almost one-fifth of users, however, had performed a local search. The following chart offers details on these trends.

Online Consumer Reviews Drive Sales

The majority of Americans (84%) say that consumer reviews influence their purchase decisions. Contrast this with how many have written reviews (28%) to see how much influence a few hold on this process. One-half of the 84% say they rely on these reviews during the first stage of the buying cycle. The most popular sources are company websites (71%), online rating systems (57%), and government/consumer advocacy sites (54%).

Defining Sustainability

Some 75% of Americans buy the same amount or more sustainable products than they did a year ago, despite the economy. Overall, 88% are interested in sustainable products, while only 56% say they actually understand sustainability. The chart below offers Americans’ definitions of sustainability.

Global Warming Concerns Growing

Eighty percent of Americans believe that global warming is occurring. Most say (65%) it is the combined result of human activity and the earth’s natural cycling, while 20% say it is entirely the result of a natural cycle. Almost all (95%) say there are actions they can take to reduce their own energy consumption. Most Americans (69%) think that reducing their energy use would not affect their lives, while 20% say it would improve their quality of life, 6% say it would decrease their quality of life, and 5% say they are unsure of the effects.

Women Using Social Media

According to BlogHer, most online adult women (53%) use social media at least once a week. Of these, 75% use a social networking site such as Facebook at least weekly, 55% read or contribute to blogs, 40% visit message boards or forums, and 16% use status updating sites such as Twitter.

Women using online social media at least once a week are:

  • Married or living with their significant other (60%)
  • Mothers (44%)
  • College graduates (33%)
  • Wealthy (household income of $100,000 or more) (11%)
  • Invest time in searching for new products/ideas online (72%)
  • Describe themselves as on the leading edge of something new (40%)
  • Claim to be technically savvy (58%)
  • Say they are sources that others seek out for advice (60%)

Family Time Down Due to Internet

From 2000 to 2005, Americans spent an average of 26 hours a month with family. However, by 2008, family time had dropped to 18 hours a month. More than one-quarter of online Americans (28%) are spending less time with family members since they have had an Internet connection at home, up from 11% in 2006.

Other survey findings by the Center for the Digital Future include:

  • 35% of high income households are spending less time together.
  • 28% of family members say children under 18 are spending too much time online, up from 11% in 2000.
  • Women (49%) are more likely than men (39%) to say they have been ignored by a family member who was online.

Chronic Health Conditions Not Being Treated

Chronic conditions such as hypertension, arthritis and diabetes, account for 75% of medical care costs in the U.S. Most of these individuals are living with pain (71%) and are under significant stress (65%). One-half (50%) also suffer from depression periodically. Some 25% of those dealing with a chronic illness have delayed getting a healthcare treatment or filling a prescription for financial reasons in the past year, with 38% not having the money to do what it takes to improve their health. The proportion rises to 63% of Hispanics and 58% of Blacks. Overall, 59% of individuals with four or more chronic conditions also lack the financial means to improve their health.

Americans Multitasking Habits

According to a study by Experian Simmons, Americans fit 38 hours worth of activity into a 24-hour day. They most commonly multitask while watching TV. The average person spends three hours a day watching TV, and 72% of those are spent also using another medium. The most typical activities are surfing the web (27%), using their cell phones (26%) and emailing (23%).

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