Americans' Growing Attachment to Mobile Devices Represents Opportunity for Companies

In this post-​modern world where personal technology reigns supreme (particularly mobile devices), it is not outlandish to think that a smartphone or tablet can become your best friend. Just how intimately connected are we with our mobile devices? A new survey commissioned by Citrix found that Americans admitted to spending almost every waking minute with their devices, whether checking news and social media feeds first thing each morning, eating every meal with device in hand, or watching reality TV shows in secret. mobiletwo_calls

Like most close relationships, it’s not all fun and games. The survey also highlights where the relationship between user and device can go south. Among the findings:

GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER

Any lunch date or dinner party can be ruined by an unwanted guest, but what happens when that guest is a smartphone or tablet? This problem appears to be on the rise, as a whopping 69% of mobile device owners said it has been one day or less since they last ate a meal without checking their device. And don’t blame the kids for ignoring you at the dinner table. Only 66% of Millennials checked their devices while sitting down for a meal in the past day compared to 68% of Gen Xers and 71% of Boomers.

A PROBLEM WITH OVER-SHARING

While new technologies have made it easy to share videos with friends and family across the globe, a majority of mobile device users (52%) expressed their desire for fewer shared videos. When asked which of the following video types they wished people would stop sharing, 45% ranked videos of kids as their number one choice. “Holiday greetings” and pet videos ranked second and third with 42 and 41%, respectively. On the flip side, the survey found that we have no qualms about sharing our own video content, even at the expense of others. Among mobile device owners who recorded an embarrassing video of someone in 2012, a majority (52%) are saving it to share with others in 2013.

IDLE TIME, ALONE TIME

When asked the primary reason for using their mobile devices, 64% of survey respondents said “to keep myself from being bored.” The next most popular reason, “to bring friends or family together,” was cited by just 32% of respondents, which indicates that Americans may prefer quality time with a mobile device to hanging out with a “real” friend. Additionally, 46% copped to watching a television show they would never watch with their friends, only in private. Among those who confessed to secret TV behavior, the top show watched behind closed doors was “Pawn Stars” (36%), followed by the “Storage Wars” series (32%), and “The Real Housewives” (28%).

OUR MOST TRUSTED CONFIDANTE

Mobile users trust the information they find on the Internet by a wide margin – especially compared to information provided by their parents. In fact, 55% said they trust “how-​to” advice taken from the Internet over advice from their parents. Though Millennials are the first generation to grow up immersed in digital technology, they don’t necessarily trust the Internet more than older Americans do: 62% of Gen Xers compared to 54% of Millennials trust advice from the mobile Web more than their parents.

A GOOD FRIEND IS HARD TO FIND

Just as we get impatient with a friend who shows up late or takes too long to text us back, nearly a third (30%) of the survey respondents said that they will wait only eight seconds for a mobile Web page to load before giving up. Along the same lines, 72% said they are likely to abandon downloading a large file because of slow download speeds. Mobile device users will not hesitate to throw in the towel when response times are inadequate.

These survey findings confirm suspicions that most of us are rendered completely helpless when separated from our mobile devices, perhaps even more than when we are pulled apart from our best friends,” said Mick Hollison, vice president of Integrated Marketing and Strategy, Citrix. “As our attachments to smartphones and tablets continue to grow deeper and more intimate, companies must respond with new ways to empower people to use their favorite devices across their personal and professional lives. This will enable all of us to reach new levels of productivity and prosperity.”

ADDITIONAL SURVEY HIGHLIGHTS

The Wakefield survey also uncovered data that contrasts what mobile device owners think they know about their devices and data plans with the reality of their mobile Web behaviors.

  • Despite the fact that mobile ads consume one percent of a smartphone subscriber’s monthly data volume, a majority (61%) of smartphone or tablet owners incorrectly believe that mobile ads don’t count against their monthly data limit.
  • Seventy percent of smartphone and tablet owners actively choose to stream content on a mobile device rather than a computer.
  • More than half (51%) of mobile device owners blame their provider for slow-​loading Web pages, while 49% blame the website.
  • While a majority of mobile video is low-​resolution (92% is less than 360p), 64% of survey respondents think most of the mobile videos they watch are primarily high-resolution.
  • Seventy-​four percent of mobile video viewers seek out most of the video they watch, rather than wait for it to come to them via friends or advertisers.
[Source:  "Survey Shows Americans Treat Mobile Devices as Best Friends."  Citrix/​Wakefiled Research.  13 Feb. 2013.  Web.  21 Feb. 2013.]