Internet piracy slows home subscription growth, reports Mintel

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Published on October 13th, 2010

Chicago (October 13, 2010) – Your neighbor may be borrowing more than just a cup of sugar… according to a recent Mintel report, home Internet services saw revenues increase by only 3% over the past five years and WiFi pirating could be part of the reason why.

Some 72% of consumers have Internet access at home, but only 56% report subscribing to home Internet service. The remaining 16% of consumers may be sharing a connection, stealing WiFi from neighbors, using a mobile connection or they may be uncertain about where their Internet connection comes from.

“Home Internet penetration barely moved from 2006 to 2009. The slow growth in the era of Facebook, Pandora and YouTube shows that people are accessing the Internet from home through different methods, even if they haven’t paid for access themselves,”notes Billy Hulkower, senior analyst at Mintel. “Younger consumers appear especially likely to use a neighbor’s WiFi signal instead of subscribing at home as they are more likely to know how to find and connect to their neighbors’ service. “

More disturbingly, the highest-income groups also appear more likely to pirate WiFi than their lower income counterparts. Twenty percent of surveyed respondents from households with annual incomes more than $75K have access to the Internet from home, but do not have a home Internet subscription.

Internet Devices & Access
The use of cell phones and other mobile devices for Internet access at home more than doubled from 2005 to 2009. The use of laptop computers increased 150% over the same period, while the use of desktop computers was relatively unchanged.

Meanwhile, how people access the Internet has also gone through a metamorphosis. Dial-up Internet access is barely hanging on, as 9% of survey respondents still use it, but cable modem and DSL lead the Internet connection pack with 44% and 38% of home Internet users, respectively.

“Laptops, netbooks and mobile devices will soon dominate, even in the home,” adds Billy Hulkower. “The opportunity for future-oriented home Internet providers is to make home networks integrate seamlessly with portable and mobile devices. “

About Mintel
Mintel is a leading global supplier of consumer, product and media intelligence. For more than 38 years, Mintel has provided insight into key worldwide trends, offering exclusive data and analysis that directly impacts client success. With offices in Chicago, New York, London, Sydney, Shanghai and Tokyo, Mintel has forged a unique reputation as a world-renowned business brand. For more information on Mintel, please visit www.mintel.com. Follow Mintel on Twitter: http://twitter.com/mintelnews

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