WASHINGTON (7/27/09)--Credit unions serving African-American members may be able to boost their online banking programs with the demographic group more than they think. New research indicates that mobile access to the Internet is growing and that African-Americans are now the most active users of mobile Internet. A new survey by Washington, D.C.-based Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project concluded that one-third of Americans now access the Internet from a mobile handset, such as a cell phone. More than half have connected using other wireless devices such as laptops, game consoles, and MP3 players. Forty-eight percent of African-Americans surveyed have used the Internet on a mobile device, and 29% say they go online with a handheld every day. "The notion of a digital divide for African Americans has some resonance when thinking about the wireline Internet," said John Horrigan, associate director of the Pew Internet Project and principal author of the report. "But when you introduce the mobile Internet, the picture changes, and African-Americans are pacesetters," he added (clickz.com July 22). The findings have implications for marketing programs. Credit unions using different marketing channels such as social networking sites may be able to attract the pacesetters. In the survey, 32% of U.S. adults said they used a cell or smart phone to browse the Web or use e-mail or instant messaging while on the move. That's an increase over the 24% who had done so in a similar survey in 2007. Nineteen percent of those surveyed said they accessed the Internet from a mobile device the day before this year's survey, compared with 11% in 2007. Pew Research Center attributed the growth to an increasing demand for access to information while away from home or work, and the ability to share content with others through services such as Twitter. More than 56% of respondents said they had accessed the Internet wirelessly in some shape or form. Laptop computers were the most popular methods. The survey of 2,253 people was conducted in April.