When it comes to mobile phones, the phone isn’t the most important part. Increasingly it’s for social communication via other modes.
Research by ExactTarget found 29 percent of users reported that they used their phones to email constantly; 18 percent said they constantly use their phones to browse the Internet. And 17 percent of respondents said that they access Facebook constantly throughout the day. Other activities with high levels of engagement include using branded applications, such as ESPN or Groupon, watching videos and accessing maps.
Not surprisingly given its subscription base, Facebook is the only social media site used by a majority of smartphone owners every day. Seventeen percent of those surveyed used their smartphones to check Facebook “constantly throughout the day,” and 35 percent check Facebook at least several times a day.
Increasingly, smartphone users are willing to check in. More than a quarter of respondents reported checking in at least once to sites including Facebook, Foursquare and Gowalla. Despite concerns about privacy, women are more likely to check in than men — 37 percent of female smartphone owners have checked in, compared to 21 percent of males. Even more interesting is that in the 35-54 age group 38 percent of women have checked in in order to access location-based deal services, which means that Groupon and its ilk are both driving and changing consumer behaviors.
According to the research, consumers are using their smartphones as a kind of digital Swiss army knife. Thirty-eight percent of respondents said that they use their phones for text messaging “constantly throughout the day,” and 78 percent report texting at least once a day. Only 31 percent of respondents said that they use the phone function of their phone constantly, and, interestingly, 13 percent of users reported that they use their phones to talk on the phone once a month or less. Women aged 18-24 are the least likely to use their smartphones to make phone calls. Only 56 percent of that demographic said they used their mobile devices in that way.
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