Survey: Most cafe Wi-Fi users are male, affluent and 25-49

Mobile advertising most often seen by iPod Touch, iPhone users

A new survey of who uses Wi-Fi hot spots in coffee shops and cafes shows the audience is generally affluent, overwhelming male and mostly between the ages of 25 and 49.

These public Wi-Fi users also buy things over the Internet from the cafe hotspots, with 38% saying they use Wi-Fi to make purchases. They also click on mobile advertising, with nearly 98 % of the mobile device users clicking on ads with either an iPhone or an iPod Touch.

The survey data, compiled by JiWire, a media company that delivers ads to mobile devices, looked at usage trends across 275,000 public Wi-Fi hotspots. JiWire also surveyed 2,057 customers randomly selected at 6,500 cafe locations in the U.S. between April and June.

According to JiWire, 68% of Wi-Fi users at cafes spent more than an hour online, while 56% reported connecting daily or nearly daily. That kind of information is obviously useful to advertisers who are increasingly seeing Wi-Fi usage and mobile devices as important in selling their products, JiWire officials said.

Kevin McKenzie, CEO of JiWire, said in a statement that cafe Wi-Fi users are doing more than checking e-mail, using their connections to research products and buy goods and services, for instance, as well as using social networks when they're out of the home and office.

JiWire also discovered that the number of public hotspots around the world grew by 9% between January and June. As of June, the U.S. had the most of any country, with more than 67,000; China was next with 28,000, the UK had 27,000 and France, 25,000.

Also, JiWire reported that 81% of public Wi-Fi hotspots are paid, with just 19% free. The public Wi-Fi hotspots in North America are located in hotels (55%), airports (27%), Cafes (10%), ferries and cruise ships (5%) and on subways (3%).

Among the most-often used devices to click on ads, Apple's iPod Touch ranked first, with 56%, and the iPhone ranked second with 42%, while the Sony PSP, Nokia N95 and the Palm Pre took the next three spots, with less than 1% apiece. JiWire did not report the actual number of ad requests that were made.

The survey also found that 67% of cafe Wi-Fi users were 25-49, 74% were male and 66% had a household income of $50,000 or more. About 44% of the cafe users reported working for small companies of fewer than 99 workers, indicating the value of a Wi-Fi-enabled cafe as a kind of nomadic office.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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