You’ve seen it happen a thousand times. In airports, waiting rooms, shopping centers, and places of business, screens flash as children, parents, laborers, professionals, and decision-makers complete tasks on their mobile devices. They’re communicating with peers, consuming media, researching topics, locating vendors, finding a good place to eat…in other words, getting a lot accomplished. And, while nearly invisible, these accomplishments represent how seamlessly smartphones and tablets have integrated into our daily lives.
When businesses fail to develop a mobile strategy, it’s often because they don’t want to accept just how widespread mobile usage has become. But statistics show that for the majority of Americans, mobile devices are a critical tool for engaging with organizations and services. Customers want to research your business, browse your products, and interact with you from their mobile devices. They also want targeted tools and applications that make it easier to integrate your products and services into their lives and work days. If you’ve been holding back on developing a mobile strategy because you believe it’s merely a nice extra, now is the time to re-think mobile as a basic necessity no business should be without.
The Growth of Mobile Device Usage
So how big is mobile? According to the Pew Research Center, 65% of Americans own a smartphone in 2015, a 30% jump from 2011. More telling is the growing number of Americans relying primarily on smartphones for internet access. In fact, 10% of Americans surveyed had no internet connection at home besides their mobile data plan. They reported using mobile devices to perform tasks such as online banking, finding real estate, researching government services, and learning about health conditions. And mobile devices are increasingly used for online shopping. According to data from BI Intelligence, 22% of men and 18% of women made at least one online purchase from a smartphone in 2014.
Among business executives, adoption of mobile technology is nearly total.
In 2014, about 92% of executives owned a smartphone. According to the IDG Global Mobile Survey, 69% of executives used a smartphone to perform business tasks during working hours, while 71% used a tablet. And that’s not counting evening use; 73% used a smartphone and 82% used a tablet to conduct business after hours. Most significantly, an overwhelming majority of executives used mobile devices to research products and services they needed for business. 86% of executives in 2014 reported using a tablet to perform this research, while 72% reporting using a smartphone.
These stats underscore the observational evidence: mobile devices aren’t going anywhere, and they are changing the way consumers and businesspeople find products, services, and vendor partners.