This article is Part 2 of an article posted on the SJG blog on 3/13/12.
Mobile Devices—Our Lifestyle Connections
What came first, the earbuds or the iPhone? Perhaps future generations will ponder this question when all other music mediums from records to compact discs, from 8-tracks to audio cassettes and from Walkmans to Discmans are long forgotten and the earbud headphones and iPods are as inseparable as the chicken and the egg. - Cassandra Bremer, Junior Executive, The San Jose Group
Fact: more people go to bed and wake up with their smartphones than they do with other people. Okay well, honestly, I cannot declare that a fact, but I would be willing to believe it. Recently, my night time novels spend more time collecting dust than being read while my iPhone’s crossword, Words-With-Friends, and Draw Something apps have become a part of my bed time routine. When I wake up in the morning, next to my alarm clock, my phone is the first item I reach for to check the weather and play music.
At this point, if somebody asked me, “why do you have a cell phone?” I might look at them and respond, “why do you wear shoes? Because you need them.”
We do know smartphones have impacted our lifestyles, but not to what extent. For instance, are we as a culture, more likely to use smartphones to communicate via email, text, or phone conversation? To get some answers, we distributed a short inter office survey around The San Jose Group.
I’m willing to bet Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) used the cell phone in the meme (above) solely for communication purposes—it was not capable of performing other tasks. Our survey results, on the other hand, show a shift has occurred in function and usage. Communication utilities, specifically texting, emailing, and calling, just holds the majority (55%) as the most used functions; the remaining 45% falls under entertainment. In other words, almost half of the time we use our phones, we are using them for entertainment (music, games, etc.). Even more alarming, no one claimed making phone calls was his/her phone’s number one use. Instead, people stated emailing, texting, browsing, or gaming as their most used phone function.
Zack’s classic Motorola DynaTAC appeared in several episodes of Saved by the Bell, but clearly, since Zack used payphones and land lines in the show as well, he did not always carry his phone. In the twenty-first century, we carry our cells everywhere. One person surveyed said he carried his phone with him “most of the time,” the rest said they had their phones with them all of the time. Sorry Zack, we don’t blame you for not wanting to lug around that box phone, but not carrying your cell is a social taboo—why waste time sitting idly with your thoughts when you could be sharing them via text, email or Facebook? Even more confusing for Zack, some of us rely on our cell phones because we cancelled our land line services (at least that is the case for 22% of the survey group).
Today, cell phones have added convenient features and applications, simplifying our everyday lives. For instance, Zack could only use his phone to figure out the time when someone on the other extension was relaying it, while 70% of the survey group most often checks their phones and computers for the time. Additionally, cameras in Zack’s day still required film. A camera phone, to Zack, might sound like some high tech spy device; however today, the camera phone is the most popular photography mean as 70% of those surveyed claimed they use their camera phones more than their digital cameras.
“Engaging and reaching the Hispanic consumer, through mobile phones, has high impact on sales potentials for brands. Statistics prove it is a great way to drive engagement and increase brand market share,” said George L. San Jose, President and Chief Operating Officer of The San Jose Group.
What does this mean for advertisers?
People are on their cell phones for a variety of different reasons multiple times a day. During much of that time, they are browsing the internet: ninety percent of those surveyed claim to browse the internet multiple times a day; the number jumped to 100% within the Hispanic population. Browsing ranked even higher than texting as the top use of the cell phone. Because consumers, particularly Hispanic consumers, are so tuned in to their phones, cell phones are one of the best places to reach them. While Zack might have remembered your billboard back in the 1980s, perhaps today he would better remember your banner on his browser or mobile app.