With roughly a third of mobile phones in the U.S. now being smartphones, patterns are emerging of how usage of those phones is evolving.
With the first two screens of televisions and PCs, consumer usage and consumption is serial, that is, you have a period of time that you do it. Think watching a movie or TV program from start to finish, or reading and writing emails for an hour.
With the third screen of smartphones, usage is different. A recent study by IPSOS OTX and sponsored by Google found that 89 percent of smartphone owners use their phones throughout the day. There is no beginning and no end, smartphone usage is continuous.
Locations of where smartphones are used are wide ranging, with 87 percent of consumers using them on-the-go (while commuting, walking), 77 percent in a store, 73 percent in a restaurant and 54 percent at a café or coffee shop, according to the study.
More than half (53%) even use them at the doctor’s office and half (50%) at airports (though for those of us who heavily travel, it sure seems like a lot more).
Like other research, the IPSOS OTX study found that smartphone usage does not occur in isolation. While using the internet on their smartphones, almost half (44%) listen to music, a third (33%) watch TV, nearly a third (27%) play video games and almost a fourth (22%) read a newspaper or magazine.
One of the great advantages of the third screen is that it can be used anywhere and anytime. While using smartphones, consumers are waiting in line (59%), eating (48%), shopping (44%), traveling to work or school (43%), using the bathroom (39%), cooking (27%) and driving (20%), the study found.
Businesses large and small need to take these factors into consideration when marketing to the new m-powered (mobile empowered) consumer.
The days of simply marketing to a consumer tethered to a device somewhat anchored to a specific location are fading.
The smartphone is the ultimate on-the-go device. And marketing to the on-the go, m-powered consumer will present great new opportunities as well as challenges.
Companies need to consider ways to provide true value to the multi-tasking, mobile consumer, who is consuming content and participating in activities in bite-sized chunks throughout the day.
Welcome to the age of on-the-go, mobile marketing.
Chuck Martin is author of The Third Screen; Marketing to Your Customers in a World Gone Mobile, The Smartphone Handbook, CEO of Mobile Future Institute, Director of the Center for Media Research at MediaPost Communications and a highly sought-after mobile marketing speaker.