A substantial percentage of smartphone and tablet users consumed news on their devices in Q1 2013, according to polling by the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute. The 35-to-44 age group showed the highest incidence of reading news on their smartphones, at 73% of users. But penetration rates for every other adult age group except those 65 and older were above 60%. Among the oldest smartphone users, the small screen size seemed to turn them off to news consumption; only 35% read the news on their phone.
Among tablet users, the figures were similar, with the percentage between 25 to 64 years old reading news on the devices hovering around 67%. Interestingly, those 65 and over were much more likely to read on the tablet compared with the smartphone, at 59%; bigger font seems to translate to older readership.
All this mobile news reading is likely having an impact on print news subscriptions. Although the percentage of print subscribers fell just 2.2 percentage points between Q1 2012 and Q2 2013, to 31.1%, the drop was especially pronounced among those age groups that showed a high incidence of reading on their mobile devices. The biggest dip was for the 45-to-54 age group; 34.4% had a subscription in 2012 vs. 28.0% in 2013.