Market Research – Smartphones and New Mobile Devices
The smartphone, a mobile phone with better connectivity and more sophisticated computing capability than ordinary mobile phones, entered the consumer market in the late 1990s, but only gained mainstream acceptance with the introduction of the Blackberry by RIM in 2006. Apple Inc. joined the smartphone market in 2007 with the first model of the iPhone, and Samsung followed in June 2008 with the Instinct.
In addition to the smartphone, the modern consumer has access to other devices, the most popular of which is the tablet computer, introduced in 2010. Consumers and business owners are using mobile devices in new ways every day around the world. This new technology has made it possible for everybody to connect and relate to what is happening at any given moment.
The rise of Smartphones and Mobile Devices
In the United States, people spend significantly more time on mobile devices than on desktop computers. One of the factors driving increases in time spent on mobile devices is mobile-only social networks, for example, Snapchat, which is growing fast in popularity. The inferences are clear – if companies do not deliver an adequate mobile experience, or if they are unable to reach audiences through mobile display or search, they will lose out compared to businesses that are.
Smartphones continue to increase, and their evolving use, along with that of other mobile devices, is resulting in new consumer expectations and behavior when it comes to the purchase of goods and services and the consumption of information. Retailers are adjusting to shopping research on tablets and smartphones and in-store mobile usage while organizing their websites to make the most of the mobile consumer and commerce experience.
Practical Uses of Smartphones and Mobile Devices in Product and Service Industries
Smartphone and device users can browse the Internet, and they can stay connected even when away from WiFi. They can also keep users connected to social media, enabling them to post comments and pictures at any time of the day or night, regardless of their location. Besides, they allow users to listen to music. They can read mp3 files, making them successful portable music players.
People also reach for their smartphones and tablets when they want to book travel, watch videos, and access local information (such as the rating of that new restaurant, and its exact location). They also use their devices to perform Google searches and to read news and entertainment gossip. They prefer the smartphone for some activities, such as local searches, and the tablet for others, such as watching movies.
Importance of Design
The mobile web has grown astronomically with the increase in mobile devices. The number of people using their tablets and smartphones to search the web has long exceeded the number using their desktops for that same purpose. Businesses should, therefore, optimize their websites for all devices: tablet and smartphones users in search of a product or service (as in our earlier restaurant example) choose in only a few seconds whether or not to patronize an organization based on if their mobile website is easy to use – or not.
The swift growth in usage and importance of mobile devices is not just an American phenomenon. Mobile device usage has grown drastically worldwide. People spend most of their time using different apps on their mobile devices. Increased app use has led to some concerns, for example, entry barriers for new, regional products, as well as less need for text messaging, dulling the effect of SMS marketing.
Why Market Research can be Useful
Mobile devices give people the freedom to roam everywhere, opening up new and exciting possibilities for business. Mobile market research is still an emerging trend and one that companies should adopt for several reasons, including the fact that it is convenient and straightforward, and it eliminates the middleman. Also, it is the best (and sometimes the only) way to reach participants.