Smartphones and the Social Networker

Anyone who wandered by an Apple store earlier this summer, around the release of iPhone 4, can attest to the growing interest and demand for smartphones. But what are consumers really using these option laden phones for, and what do they envision...

Anyone who wandered by an Apple store earlier this summer, around the release of iPhone 4, can attest to the growing interest and demand for smartphones.  But what are consumers really using these option laden phones for, and what do they envision as the future potential for this ever more sophisticated mobile medium?

We here at Invoke wonder if we could answer that question, at least partially, when we asked 300 social media savvy participants about both their current and future mobile phones.  Specifically, we asked participants during a live research event – how much of a factor was social media access in selecting their current mobile phone?  While only 8% indicated that access to social media was a primary driver in their current phone, that number doubled to 16 % when we asked about their next phone purchase.

Further, 27% of people we asked indicated that access to social media was a nice bonus of their current phone, but nearly half, 46% indicated that in a future phone social media access would be a nice bonus.  But even though these numbers indicated a strong interest in social media among some of our participants, we wondered what was driving a third of participants to say that it would not be a factor.

So we looked at the age breakdown of those participants who indicated they didn’t plan to use their mobile phone for social networking, to see if we could discern a trend.

What we found is that nearly 80% of respondents, age 50+ indicated that they did not plan to use their phone for social media access, thereby negating its impact on their mobile purchase decisions.   Generally, we found that about half of participants ages 35+ did not plan to access social media via their phones.  The exception? Participants ages 45-49,were more willing than their older and younger peers to use their cell phone for social networking.  One possible reason – members of this age demographic are often parents of younger cell phone users.

Key Takeways

So what did we learn from these data points take together?  Two key things:

1.  Consumers are interested in future smartphones options that enable social media access.  Consequently, retailers, brands and products should recognize that the evolution of smart phones means mobile enabled platforms are of rapidly growing importance in communicating with engaged consumers.

2. The appeal of mobile access in cell phones may be influenced by those who are digital natives vs. digital adopters. And as such, Invoke expects the appeal of mobile access to blossom as more digital natives become smartphone owners.

In our next smartphone post; look for Invoke to explore what social media activities smart phone users are currently using their  mobile phones to do and what they envision using their mobile phone to do in future.

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