Smartphones fuel new habits

10 June 2011

MOUNTAIN VIEW: Smartphone use is increasingly influencing US consumers' media use and shopping habits, a study has indicated.

Digital giant Google and research firm Ipsos OTX MediaCT questioned 5,013 adults who accessed the web via these devices, and found that 93% of the sample used the gadgets at home.

Moreover, 87% did so "on the go", a figure attaining 77% in stores, 73% in restaurants and 72% at work.

A majority (59%) logged on to the mobile web while waiting in line, 48% did so as they ate, 44% during shopping trips and 43% while travelling.

The week before the survey was taken, 81% of contributors said they had browsed the mobile internet, 77% used search engines, 68% used apps and 48% played back video.

More broadly, 72% of respondents had engaged in simultaneous media use involving smartphones and other mainstream channels at some point.

This included 33% watching television at the same time as using the wireless web, 29% who went online through a PC, 27% for gaming and 22% for reading print media.

"Mobile search is often prompted by cross media exposure," said Selina Rennie of Google's Agency Team.

"Over two-thirds of smartphone owners have carried out a search on their smartphone as a result of traditional media."

When discussing specific activities, 82% of smartphone subscribers employed email services on their phone and 63% visited social networks.

Similarly, 82% researched and read news, 75% exploited navigation tools, 65% enjoyed entertainment content, and 45% managed their finances, social life or travel arrangements.

An extra 46% of participants used ecommerce sites, 43% viewed video-sharing portals, 38% visited general consumer websites and 26% official brand platforms.

Turning to shopping, 79% of the smartphone audience used their handsets for commercial purposes. Some 78% had located retailers, compared prices or searched store inventories, and 69% sought out product information, such as by scanning a barcode, watching online video or reading reviews.

Another 52% contacted a retailer, 40% had sourced coupons, and 28% redeemed virtual discount vouchers.

Within the 74% of individuals claiming to have previously made purchases because of using a smartphone, 76% bought goods at a bricks and mortar outlet and 59% did so from a PC.

Additionally, 35% snapped up a product straight from their phone, 27% looked to mobile websites and 22% turned to apps for the same reason.

Where people bought goods through a smartphone, the average annual expenditure hit $300, with 48% of relevant consumers buying entertainment items, as electronics and apparel both secured 45%.

Conducting research on a smartphone and then buying in-store remains the most common path to purchase, with 67%, but 9% of respondents had taken the opposite route.

Elsewhere, 23% undertook investigations on a wireless device and then a bricks and mortar store before completing transactions on the web.

A further 16% researched and purchased on a phone, with a trip to a store sandwiched in the middle.

Having been asked to describe mobile advertising formats they could recall, 45% of those polled referenced banners and graphical ads, and 43% mentioned executions on a website they had viewed.

A 35% share remembered ads embedded in apps, standing at 34% for paid-search listings, 28% for SMS and 21% for video and location-based alternatives.

"In terms of advertising, smartphone users are not only noticing mobile ads, they are receptive to them: 82% notice ads on their smartphones, half of which take action," said Rennie.

Data sourced from Google; additional content by Warc staff