Not surprisingly, the report said the younger the consumer, the more likely they were to spend more money on a cellphone. Those under 25 spent 75 percent of their telephone costs on cellphones, a figure that dropped consistently with each older age bracket. Those 65 and older spent 33 percent on cellphones.
"People growing up now, many of them have never bought a landline," said Carl Howe, director of Anywhere Consumer Research at The Yankee Group in Boston. "But they often don't own houses. They tend to be out more. As that group ages into a demographic with homes, kids in school, carpooling, they may change their mind. The younger demographic just doesn't see the need. They consider it quaint."
The Yankee Group has studied cord cutting, and in a study published last December it found that the trend was well underway before the recession and has only accelerated. About 16 percent of consumers had replaced their home phone with a mobile phone, the study found, and another 8 percent said they will do so in the next year. Only 57 percent said they plan to keep a landline.
So why keep a landline? Howe gave a few reasons:
Quality. "The quality is significantly different. Can you hear the other person when you're talking? Cellphones don't always do that.''
Features. "There are landline features that some people still use. Speed dialing, for example. Cellphones are more address book-based.''
But those things are changing. Phone companies are introducing new, fancy, touchscreen home phones like Verizon's new Hub phone, a cross between a computer and a phone designed to put in your kitchen and save you a trip to the computer to look up a number. "Carriers are selling people on the value of the home phone,'' Howe said.
In the New England area, at least, it may be working. The Cambridge-based firm Forrester Research, in a May 2008 study, found that cord cutting is varied across the country. In the Southeast and South Central regions, 14 percent of US households were cord cutters, it found, but in the Middle Atlantic and New England regions, 8 percent had cut phone cords.
"Cost savings are a primary motivation for cutting the cord,'' the study said.
If, however, cutting the home phone cord isn't for you, Howe said there is another monthly expense worth considering.
"One question we've been asking is whether to cut the cable TV cord,'' he said. "With digital TV, people are rediscovering broadcast TV. It's not your father's analog. It's crystal clear. Great sound. And it's free.''
He admitted it's a small number, right now (less than 10 percent of people surveyed have done it or even considered it), but he said pay TV is really expensive and more people are looking at going back to the old days. "If you don't watch every high-end channel, it's a good option to save money,'' he said. "That may be the next phase of cord cutting.''