Armed with smartphones, tablets and laptop/desktop computers, consumers are beginning to use each device to do distinct tasks. And while e-mail, Internet access, search, Facebook, music, photos and gaming are widely used on all three screens, increasingly consumers are turning to specific tools to accomplish specific things.
Smartphones are the all purpose in-motion utility device. The voice/text/audio recording tool replacing watches, alarm clocks, instant cameras, to-do lists, address books, PDAs, gameboys, calendars, weather 800 numbers and soon -- wallets. Tablets are becoming multi-dimensional infotainment centers. And personal computers, which are more likely than either phones or tablets to be shared devices, are serious tools for serious matters and the repository, or gateway to the cloud repository, of our key files and critical data.
The division of labor seems to a function of technical capabilities, psychology, demographics and habits. People are used to doing certain things on the go, like texting, calling, checking e-mail, tweeting, etc. Shopping is a mixed bag. According to PriceGrabber, 1 percent of on online shoppers will buy exclusively using a mobile device and another 45 percent will combine offline, online and mobile to make a purchase. And while the number of these tasks is expanding to include payments, ticketing or boarding passes and app use, we are, after all, creatures of habit where tradition and inertia plus ease of use drive many of our behaviors.
107 million Americans, 46% of US adults own a smartphone. The average person glances at their phone 150 times at or every 6.5 minutes. Fifteen percent download mobile apps, 10% research products using their phone and 4% bought something with an average value of $80. Forty-eight percent use their phone to get coupons and 44 percent check product reviews. Forty percent use their phones while watching TV and two-thirds listen to music on their phones. Payments are the next new thing for smart phone users.
The 54.8 million tablet users, 19 percent of US adults, account for 22 percent of Internet users and are generally concentrated among the better educated and higher earning segments, more than half of whom are millennials. Four times more tablet users access the Internet on their device than smart phone users and they spend 4.4 hours/week using their tablets accounting for 4 percent of online retail traffic. Seventy-two percent make weekly purchases averaging $123.00, about twice the time smartphone users spend shopping and twice the value of smart phone purchases.
Tablets are becoming the preferred device for consuming long form content that requires longer attention spans. More than half of tablet users use apps, watch videos, read newspapers or magazines, read books or play games on their devices. More than half have paid for access to music, books, movies or TV shows. iPad users, the majority of tablet owners, spend 35 percent of their time surfing the web, 22% on social media, 12 percent each on playing games or watching videos.
Desktops and laptops have perceptually merged in consumers’ minds. And while these computers introduced us to e-mail, web video, games, ecommerce and social media the portability, speed, and convenience of tablets are eclipsing the laptop. Yet consumers overwhelming see legacy devices as more secure and critical for storing information, It’s hard to imagine consumers filling out a mortgage, credit card or the common college application on a phone or a tablet. Similarly, even though tablet traffic to tax preparations sites is up 50 percent, most of us still do our taxes and our financial work on desktops or laptops.
Savvy marketers will keep an eye on these behaviors and will create content, build messaging and promotions using native functionality built-into the devices in tandem with variables like day of week, time of day, GPS location and other factors to leverage existing device usage and provide consumers with an experience that will feel natural, organic, useful and fun.