It is a common misconception, apparently, that the vast majority of mobile phone owners use their device for non-urgent purposes. So, while the odd glance over the shoulder of a fellow commuter may reveal them hurling portly fowl across their screen ultimately endangering the structural integrity of pig-housing, this doesn’t necessarily mean that mobile use is primarily an exercise in time-wasting.
A new study into the behaviours of US mobile smartphone users suggest that a vast bulk of mobile phone owners are using their devices for more urgent matters and not just Angry Birds.
Pew Internet Research, the company which carried out the study is calling these habits the “just-in-time” phenomenon.
The survey, which compiled data drawn from over 2,200 U.S adults shows that 70 per cent of all mobile phone owners and 86 per cent of smartphone owners say they have recently used their mobile phone to bring up immediate information, solve a problem or get help in an emergency.
The way in which we use our mobile phones has changed dramatically over the last few years as the rise of the smart device has compressed the power of the internet into the palms of our hands. This treasure trove of data has opened up opportunities for apps, gaming and web-browsing on our devices and as a consequence, traditional telephony has taken a back seat.
The ways in which we use our mobile phones is of great interest to mobile ad agencies that will be looking to tailor their campaigns in accordance with how our phones are being used.
The bulk of those surveyed — 41 per cent — stated that the primary use for their mobile or smartphone for bask tasks such as coordinating meetings and arranging dates.
This figure overshadowed the number of people who used their mobiles to look up a restaurant (30 per cent), check the all-important sports results (23 per cent) and get transport information (20 per cent).
In terms of ‘emergency situations’; less than 20% of those surveyed said they’ve used their phone in the midst of an emergency in the last 30 days. The difficulty in deciphering these statistics, of course, is determining by which parameters something is classed as ‘an emergency’.
As companies such as Samsung and Apple continue to sell mobiles stuffed full of increasingly sophisticated features, our mobile phone habits are likely to shift and evolve in response to these technological developments.