Why should consumer researchers want to survey people on smartphones instead of desktops?
This is one question whose answer is literally within arm’s reach, or at your fingertips – even if you’re sitting in front of a desktop or laptop computer. To talk to consumers, researchers need to find consumers where they are, not where they’d prefer them to be. And here’s where consumers are:
- Pew Research Center reported that in 2016, 77% of Americans 18 and older owned smartphones, up from 35% five years earlier.
- Smartphone ownership was 92% for the 18-29 age group.
- Ownership of the other mobile device category, tablets, rose tenfold between 2011 and 2016, from 5% to 51%.
- Ownership of desktops and laptops has been static at 78% since 2012, but their role in the digital realm has fallen: comScore reports that in 2016 Americans spent 11% less time with digital content on desktops/laptops than they had the year before.
- Americans’ use of mobile apps rose 13.9% in 2016, according to eMarketer, which predicts more double-digit growth (10.7%) in 2017.
- Looking at 2015 usage, comScore found that 58% of all U.S. digital usage time occurred on mobile apps – far exceeding desktops/laptops’ 33% share.
- Mobile web’s 8% share of digital access time underscored the continuing connectivity issues that plague it, including dropped signals and excruciatingly slow content load-ins. When you hear about “mobile optimized” surveys, “mobile web” is what’s really being sold.
- Facebook owes its juggernaut status to mobile, which accounts for 85% of its advertising revenue.
- Intel, whose processors famously powered the desktop revolution, has struggled amid changing times. Last year it announced an 11% staff reduction, cutting 12,000 jobs, while attempting to shift its focus away from PCs to new-generation devices.
You get the picture, and you’ll draw your own conclusions. But resolving to adopt mobile research is just the beginning. Since all mobile is not created equal, you have important choices to make. Stay tuned to this blog for what you need to know, including our periodic Mobile 101 posts. To discuss how offline, in-app mobile capabilities can meet your specific needs, just get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.