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Texting vital for smartphone users

News, 04 February 2016

NEW YORK: US smartphones users are just as likely to be texting friends and family as playing a game or streaming a video, new research has shown.

Research company GfK MRI surveyed more than 5,900 US smartphone owners between September and November 2015 for its Mobile Now report and found that they divided their time equally between entertainment – including games, music, web surfing, and watching streamed content – texting and phone calls.

These activities each took up 22% of users' smartphone time. Social media and email accounted for a further 10% each.

Over two-thirds (68%) of consumers – and more than four-fifths (83%) of Millennials – reported that they text more than they talk on their smartphones. And texting is the phone feature that respondents said they would miss most if it was not available.

When GfK MRI asked consumers which smartphone apps or functions they turn to first thing in the morning, texting was cited most often, by 67% of respondents. Email came in second, mentioned by 63%, followed by Facebook (48%) and the weather (44%).

Hispanics were even more likely to have mentioned texting (73%), with email a relatively distant also-ran (at 64%).

Games came in 7th first thing in the morning, mentioned by 19% of respondents. And streaming music service Pandora (12%) placed above Pinterest, Twitter, and other well-known social media apps.

The study also identified five different types of smartphone user. Mobile Embracers made up around one quarter (24%), integrating their smartphones into every aspect of their lives.

Entertainment Seekers (15%) were defined as young singles drawn to mobile gaming and watching streaming video.

Casual Gamers (18%) are likely to be white women with children, while Info Seekers (18%) are frequently white, educated, married men interested in news and/or sports.

There also exists a large group of users – Mobile Fundamentals (25%) – who need help just downloading a new app.

Data sourced from GfK MRI; additional content by Warc staff