New Surveys Highlight Latest Mobile Behavior Trends
We know people love their gadgets — in fact, a recent study by the Online Publishers Association found that 68 percent of users say they “cannot live without” their smartphones. But what, exactly, are they doing with them? Both the OPA and Keynote recently released research on who today’s mobile users are and how they use their devices. A few highlights:
Men Are Driving the Smartphone Boom
Smartphone ownership has grown 31 percent from 2011 to 2012, totaling 107 million users as of March 2012, according to OPA. Most sales come from the 25-to-34 age group (26 percent), with slightly more men owning smartphones than women (52 percent to 48). But when it comes to new buyers, men take a wider lead, at 58 percent.
The greatest number of users (22 percent) earned between $50,000 and $75,000 per year. By next year, 57 percent of the U.S. population that’s on the Web, ages eight to 64, will own a smartphone.
Android Rules Phones; Apple Owns Tablets
According to Keynote’s survey of 5,388 members of its research panel, 43 percent of respondents own a phone that runs on the Android operating system, making it the most popular mobile OS. However Apple was by far the most popular hardware brand, beating out HTC and Samsung. Other operating systems, like BlackBerry, Windows, and Symbian, make up a far smaller share of the smartphone market.
However tablet users heavily lean toward Apple’s iPad — 53 percent of tablet owners have one. Amazon’s Kindle (which runs on a special version of Android) and HP were next in line.
Apps Vs. the Web
So what exactly are users doing with these devices? A notable difference between smartphone and tablet users are their preferences toward mobile apps and/or the mobile Web.
Keynote found that the smartphone crowd leans more toward native mobile apps, mainly because apps provide pages specifically fitted for the device’s screen. But they still use the Web for certain functions. Smartphone users use apps mainly for social media updates, maps, email, and banking, but use mobile websites for news, entertainment, and shopping. Tablet users, on the other hand, tended to use apps and websites interchangeably.
Speed Is a Pain Point
Mobile users have one chief complaint: speed. Sixty-four percent of smartphone users Keynote surveyed said they want a site to load in four seconds or less, while 60 percent of tablet users had even higher expectations: less than three seconds.
If speed is the No. 1 complaint, choosing the fastest network would make sense, right? Not exactly. Only 27 percent of smartphone users and a whopping 7 percent of tablet users are on a 4G network, according to Keynote. Fifty-seven percent of smartphone users are still on 3G, while 77 percent of tablet users prefer Wi-Fi.
If it seems like people have their faces buried in a screen all day long, it’s because it’s true. OPA reports that 84 percent of those surveyed spend over an hour a day looking at two different screens at the same time. And 64 percent said they stare at three.
Image from Shutterstock via BetaNews.