Recommended Reading: News On Smartphone Adoption from the Pew Internet & American Life Project

John Pinson
Aug. 18, 2011 by John Pinson

We’ll be publishing a report in the next week or so based on original research we conducted along with our public relations firm, Atomic PR.  While modest in scope, the survey we conducted uncovered some interesting data points on the way individuals interact with businesses via email, text and IM.

One key finding was that as more messaging channels become available (mobile email, text, IM) and communication choices diversify, consumers increasingly expect their interactions with businesses to be contextually relevant — they want their preferences to be respected. Plus, consumers say they are more likely to do business with companies that listen to and respect their preferences for how and when they reach out via email, text or IM.

These findings align with the arguments put forth by our CMO, Dave Lewis, in a white paper (Preparing for Message Convergence), and in follow-up interviews. Namely, that as communication options for individuals proliferate, so will it become more difficult for businesses to reach customers, and more important for businesses to respect channel and device preferences in order to connect. To paraphrase, smartphones will produce shorter windows for companies to communicate with customers and realize their objectives.

It’s timely to revisit these pieces on message convergence because there’s growing evidence that smartphones are profoundly affecting the way people communicate. And those changes are accelerating. A report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project entitled Smartphone Adoption and Usage, finds that that:

  • 35% of American adults now own a smartphone, and that one-quarter of those smartphone owners now rely on those smartphones as the primary device for online browsing.
  • 87% of smartphone owners access the internet or email on their handheld, including two-thirds (68%) who do so on a typical day.
  • When asked what device they normally use to access the internet, 25% of smartphone owners say that they mostly go online using their phone, rather than with a computer.

What this kind of research is showing is that these trends are driving shifts in consumer attitudes, with implications for how businesses communicate with their customers. Notably, there is increasing demand for B2C messaging that is shaped around the device and channel preferences (email, text, IM and social) of the consumer – as those preferences shift. Stay tuned for more soon, and in the meantime, be sure to check out the full Pew study.

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