Internet Access Trumps TV and Sex for Many U. S. Adults
How important is the Internet to you every day in uncertain economic times? If you're like most U.S. adults, it ranks higher than many other activities, according to a report from Harris Interactive and Intel.
Indeed, most U.S. adults find Internet access essential to daily life in today's economic climate. Some are choosing the Internet as a "must-have" over watching TV and having sex.
A full 65 percent of adults said they don't think they could live without Internet access. An even-larger 71 percent said it's important or very important to have Internet-enabled devices, such as laptops, netbooks and mobile Internet devices, that serve up real-time updates on important issues like the state of the economy.
"It surprised me that 65 percent said they cannot live without the Internet. That's two out of three people," said Michelle Melamaud, an analyst at Harris Interactive. "The Internet is more important to most of our respondents than shopping for clothes. You need clothes -- clothes are not an option."
Better Than Sex?
Clothes may not be an option, but sex apparently is. Forty-six percent of women and 30 percent of men would rather go without sex for two weeks than give up Internet access for the same period. For women ages 18-34 that figure rose to 49 percent, and for women ages 35-44 it climbed to 52 percent. For men ages 18-34, the number who would trade sex for Internet access was 39 percent.
Most U.S. adults also lean on the Internet as a tool for managing personal finances, finding discounts, and comparison shopping. Many rated access to the Internet as indispensable compared to other discretionary spending, including dining out, shopping for clothes, and gym memberships.
The Internet also trumps the TV. Sixty-one percent of adult women would choose to give up watching TV for two weeks instead of giving up access to the Internet for only one week, and 58 percent of all U.S. adults agree.
"While it might be evident that people would think Internet-enabled devices are common, helpful and useful in this economy, it's still funny that people would want to give up watching TV," Melamaud said. "Now that you can watch TV on your computer, it's a little tricky."
Live, Sleep and Breathe the Net
Ninety-five percent of adults feel it's very important, important or somewhat important for people to have devices that allow access to the Internet.
A majority (82 percent) agree that Internet-enabled devices help them stay up to date in real time on the state of the economy. Eighty-seven percent say Internet access has helped them save money.
"The Internet really is becoming one of the most essential things to people," Melamaud said. "These people live, breathe and sleep the Internet."