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56pc of smartphone owners research purchases on device: Forrester

March 30, 2012

The gap between smartphone and tablet behavior continues to grow, signaling how the two devices need to be treated with different marketing campaigns, according to a new study from Forrester Research.

In the “Mobile marketing: Not the same on tablets and smartphones” report, Forrester took a look at how the mobile habits differ from smartphones and tablets. Additionally, the research looked at some of the most popular activities accessed on mobile devices.

“Brands cannot take a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing across mobile devices,” said Elizabeth Shaw, San-Francisco based social and emerging media analyst at Forrester Research.

“They need to build strategies that are heavily rooted in the user’s mobile context,” she said.

Different devices
Forrester sampled more than 37,000 adults in the United States and Canada for the study in August 2011.

Eighty-nine percent of U.S. tablet owners use the device to access online content while at home, and 24 percent use the device while at work. At home, 88 percent of tablet owners use their devices in their living rooms and 79 percent of consumers use them in the bedroom.

The research shows that although tablets were designed to be portable computers, the devices are being used primarily while users are stationary and at home and are also more likely to interact with shopping, banking and other time-consuming commerce-related activities.

Additionally, 50 percent of adult tablet owners share their device with a spouse or partner and 30 percent of owners let their children use their tablets.

Tablets are also used for more browser-based features, which is important for retailers and brands to take into account when rolling out tablet initiatives. For example, 72 percent of tablet owners surveyed said that they played games, and 52 percent watch videos.

Smart devices
The study also looked at the kinds of activities that are most popular with smartphone users.

Seventy-two percent of smartphone owners use their devices to access the Internet while traveling and 47 percent access information in the car.

Sixty-three percent of smartphone consumers in the study use their devices while shopping, showing the opportunities that retailers and brands have to build features such as price comparisons and commerce into their initiatives.

Additionally, 90 percent of smartphone owners surveyed said that they had sent or received a SMS message. This shows that although apps and mobile sites are important, SMS is the mobile channel with the largest reach.

Mobile activity
The study also looked at what consumers are doing on both their smartphones and tablets.

Eighty-eight percent of tablet users accessed the Web from their devices and 84 percent of users opened emails, pointing to the importance of mobile-optimized email campaigns.

Tablets are also used for heavy media consumption with 33 percent of consumers in the study having said that they read magazines on their devices.

For smartphone users, 69 percent play games and 70 percent access social media. This shows how smartphones are better used to view small pieces of content throughout the day.

“Brands are heavily focused on marketing on mobile phones but as tablets continue to rapidly enter the market they will have to shift some of that focus to tablets,” Ms. Shaw said.

“This will require a different set of objectives, strategy and content yet need to be tied to their overarching mobile marketing strategies,” she said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York 

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