Smartphone owners are more likely than tablet owners to access local information (88% vs. 75%) and find local services (74% vs. 55%) on their devices, according to [pdf] August 2012 survey results from Keynote Systems. In fact, among a range of activities identified, accessing local information appeared as the most common smartphone activity, ahead of searching for information (82%), participating in social media and networking sites (76%), and reading news and entertainment (75%).
These results align with a separate study from xAd and Telmetrics using data provided by Nielsen (as reported by SearchEngineWatch), which found that smartphones are used more to find and contact businesses, while tablets are used more for research, price comparisons, and reviews.
Restaurants may be a chief beneficiary of smartphone owners’ propensity to search for local information and services. According to a July 2012 report from YP covering Q1 activity on the YP Local Network, restaurants led all categories in local mobile online searches, though that data was not limited to smartphones only. In fact, the xAd and Telmetrics study found that restaurant searchers (both smartphone and tablet) make quick decisions – with 87% intending to make a purchase within the day of their search, including 64% of smartphone and 44% of tablet users deciding on their purchase within the hour. Impressively, the study also found that 85% of restaurant searches result in purchases.
Smartphone Owners Don’t Show Strong Access Preferences
Data from Keynote’s “2012 Mobile User Survey” indicates that smartphone owners are mostly comfortable accessing a variety of information using either a mobile application or a mobile website. For example, 46% are neutral when it comes to accessing food and entertainment information, though a greater proportion prefer to access this information via a mobile website than a mobile app (27% vs. 18%). A plurality are also neutral about their methods of accessing travel (39%), shopping (40%), and production information (42%), though with each of these categories, a greater proportion prefer mobile websites than mobile apps. The only categories for which a plurality of smartphone owners prefer using a mobile app are map information (50%), social media updates (46%), and email (41%).
Tablet owners display similar characteristics, although a plurality are neutral on their method of access for each of the identified categories, save for banking information, in which the largest proportion (32%) simply do not use their tablet for that activity. Among the remainder, mobile websites are generally preferred by more tablet owners than mobile apps for food and entertainment, shopping, travel, and product information, though the opposite is true for email, social media, and map information.
Most Device Users Directly Access Websites
Overall, 76% of the Keynote survey respondents said that they typically access a website on their device by typing the address into the browser, while 67% link from a search result in a search engine. Other popular ways are via bookmarks and favorites (54%) and links from emails (53%).
According to the xAd study, 45% of smartphone users will go directly to a restaurant, automotive, or travel app or website they are familiar with, instead of searching and having the browser direct them. For tablet users, 49% go directly to travel sites, 44% to automotive sites, and 42% to restaurant sites with which they are familiar.
- Per the Keynote survey results, the top 5 most-common activities for tablet users are: reading news and entertainment (79%); searching for information (77%); watching videos (76%); accessing local information (75%); and participating in social media and networking sites (75%).
- 62% of tablet users said they purchase products or services on their devices, compared to 47% of smartphone users.
- Per the xAd results, 72% of tablet owners use their device more from home, while 68% of smartphone owners use them more on the go.
- Roughly two-thirds of mobile searchers notice mobile ads, and one-third have clicked. The top reasons given for engaging with mobile ads are: being locally relevant; providing local offers, coupons, and promotions; and featuring a known brand. The need for mobile ad relevance has also been found in recent studies by Hipcricket and Prosper Mobile Insights.
About the Data: The Keynote Systems survey was conducted in H1 2012 among 5,388 panelists from the Keynote Research Panel. 3,145 respondents were smartphone users, and 1,976 were tablet users.