Where Do Consumers Get Their Information? Anywhere.

There are more information sources for consumers than ever before. We’ve certainly moved well beyond newspapers, magazine, encyclopedias (encyclo-what’s?) and other traditional information sources in favor of every variety of Internet source – websites, social media, blogs, and of course, Wikipedia (that’s more like it.) But we’ve also completely broken a long-standing variable – where people are when they look for information. Home, office, etc., are practically irrelevant now. More and more so, information is retrieved on the go via smartphone. This according to a recent Pew Research study of 2,277 adults (Americans and Their Cell Phones; Aug 15 2011), which says that more than half of Americans now use their cell phones for realtime information retrieval. Specifically:

Half of all adult cell owners (51%) had used their phone at least once to get information they needed right away. One quarter (27%) said that they experienced a situation in the previous month in which they had trouble doing something because they did not have their phone at hand.

The numbers are even more significant when narrowed down to young Americans (18-29):

  • 70% of 18-29 year old cell owners have used their phone for entertainment when they were bored
  • 64% have used their phone to quickly retrieve information they needed
  • 42% have had trouble doing something because they did not have their phone nearby
  • 30% have used their phone to avoid interacting with the people around them

The mobile platform is on the verge of ubiquity, and presents amazing opportunities from a market research perspective, including mobile data collection, location-aware information, capturing customer interactions (via QR codes, for example) and more.

Have you started leveraging mobile devices in your market research? Are you finding shifts in data based on how consumers now retrieve information on the go? We want to hear your thoughts! Post your comments here, or find us on Twitter (@researchaccess).

About Joshua Hoffman

Joshua Hoffman is Technology Specialist at Microsoft and a frequent contributor to Research Access.

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