Pew Internet, a think tank that regularly publishes research reports about technology, has released a new study today showing the steady growth in using VoIP and phone services online. According to the organization’s report, a quarter of American adult internet users (24 percent) have placed phone calls online. That amounts to 19 percent of all American adults. On any given day 5 percent of internet users are going online to place phone calls, says Pew.
And Pew says that usage has grown significantly from a few years ago. For example, Pew found in February 2007 that 8 percent of internet users (6 percent of all adults) had placed calls online and 2% of internet users were making calls on any given day. At various points during the 2000s, Pew held similar surveys and found that at most about a tenth of internet users had ever used the internet to place calls and the daily figure never rose above 1 percent of internet users.
Pew also broke out its findings by demographic as well. Internet users between the ages of 18 and 29 years of age had the highest percentage of users who made calls online amongst age groups, with 27 percent of the age group reporting that they’ve made calls online. In terms of household income, 37 percent of users whose household income is above $70,000 have made a phone call online, compared to 13 percent for users whose household income is less than $30,000.
Considering Google’s presence in the market, and Microsoft’s $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype, we know the big players see strong potential in the market. But it’s certainly interesting to see data on just how common internet calling and VoIP services have become.