As Smartphones take over photography duties, replace landlines, and provide on-the-go access to favorite social media platforms, they’ve transformed how consumers communicate and share information.
New longitudinal research from Influence Central, updating a 2012 study, reveals the profound connection that women consumers have to their ever-present Smartphones and also sheds light on the impact these connected consumers have on today’s business landscape.
I’ve included here key trend-spotting around Smartphone usage, along with insights on how these trends impact business leaders and entrepreneurs.
Consumer Demand Sparks Smartphone Growth
As new digital innovations emerge, we often see older technologies begin to fade. Our 2016 findings point to the decline of telephone landlines as 54 percent of homes surveyed get along without them, in 2012, 35 percent of homes no longer had them.
With the average family owning more than two Smartphones, a full 85 percent of women consumers feel comfortable purchasing a phone on their own, either the device itself or the accompanying plan.
Smartphones Rise Up to Capture Still and Video Photography
When we fielded our first study on digital trends in 2012, digital cameras remained out in front with 63 percent of women consumers primarily using these devices to take photos, just 37 percent said they most often used their phone. Now, the reverse proves true with 70 percent of women saying they use their phone most for photos, while 30 percent say they use a camera.
The reason for the change-up? The quality of Smartphone cameras, for both still and video usage, continues to improve dramatically, so we see an increasing number of women consumers owning phones with camera capabilities.
In fact, the number of homes reporting two camera phones jumped to 45 percent from 39 percent, homes with three phones increased to 19 percent from eight percent, and the number of households with four or more camera phones rose to 19 percent from four percent.
Smartphones Become More Entwined in Consumers’ Lives
Today, women consumers view Smartphones as an essential partner as they go about their busy lives, and one they never want to leave home without. In our most recent study, 48 percent of women consumers said they consider their phone the No. 1 item they would most regret leaving at home while out running errands, far more important than their purse, which came in at 26 percent.
Compare that to four years ago, when 43 percent listed their phone as most important and 31 percent said their purse.
Consumers have grown ever more dependent on their phones as they recognize the increasing number of functions the typical phone performs. A significant 51 percent of women say they always connect to social media using their Smartphone, up from 29 percent in 2012.
Even more women consumers say they always use their phones to text; 57 percent in 2016 vs. 44 percent in our previous study.
- 38 percent of women consumers say they always use their phone to search the Internet vs. 24 percent in 2012, and 33 percent often use their phone as a GPS device to help them find their way while driving.
- Our 2016 survey showed that phones have become the new alarm clock as 53 percent always use their Smartphone to wake them up in the morning, a function that’s emerged since our 2012 study.
- Moreover, 81 percent of women consumers in 2016 say they keep their phone near their bed at night, up from 62 percent in 2012.
- Yet we’ve seen a slight drop in some electronic in-car devices since 2012, including GPS and OnStar systems, as well as in-car DVD players, resulting from deepening usage of Smartphones and tablets with similar capabilities. However in 2016, Bluetooth devices and remote starters have risen slightly compared with 2012.
So as Smartphones become more and more entrenched in consumers’ lives, what impact does this increased usage have on the marketplace?
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How can entrepreneurs and business leaders make sure they’ve focused their business offerings around today’s Smartphone savvy society? I’ve included three tips here:
- Tap into Tech-Savvy Customers: Today’s consumers, across multiple demographics, have a more accepting and comfortable relationship with technology. Phones help them do everything better, often all at the same time, and they’ve grown increasingly more at ease navigating both the device and service plans. Business leaders can connect with today’s busy consumers via their Smartphones and develop an array of strategies to help them improve and enhance their multi-tasking lives.
- Get Your Visuals into View: Having phones constantly available at our fingertips means consumers also have cameras at the ready, which continues to feed the trend toward more visual communications by all. Entrepreneurs can ensure they tap into today’s visual vibe, and weave photos, imagery, and other design elements into both their business innovation and marketing efforts.
- Stand Out from the Crowd: With information just a click away and consumers increasingly using Smartphones to search products and services while out and about, digital discovery needs to be intuitive. Business leaders should make sure their company’s online profile proves easy to find and engagement feels seamless across multiple social media platforms.