Retailers to Target Smartphone Users Via Voice Search

BY Rachel Cagle
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With an estimated 270 million Americans viewing their smartphones about 14 billion times per day, the smartphone continues to reign supreme as consumers' preferred device for online actions, as well as for controlling and monitoring many daily activities, according to Deloitte's U.S. edition of the "2018 Global Mobile Consumer Survey." This year smartphone penetration rose to 85%, up 3% from 2017, with the strongest growth among U.S. consumers aged 45 and over.

American consumers are now viewing their phones an average of 52 times daily, with 39% of consumers believing they use their smartphones too much. In fact, 60% of 18 to 34-​year-​olds admit to smartphone overuse, the highest level of any age group. However, 63% of the respondents reported trying to limit their smartphone usage, roughly half succeeding in cutting back. Smartphones also are helping blur the lines between work and leisure with 70% of respondents using personal smartphones at least occasionally for after-​hours work.

Luckily for advertisers, Smartphone Users are 14% more likely than other adults to find advertising on their mobile apps useful to them, according to AudienceSCAN. In fact, last year, 45.9% of this audience took action after either seeing an ad on their mobile smartphone apps or receiving a text ad. Within the last six months, they have also used their mobile devices to watch online or streamed videos (56.1%), purchase products (43.2%) and redeem or download coupons (28.2%).

The survey also notes growing consumer interest in voice-​assisted technologies, which are poised to be one of the next "big things" in human-​computer interaction, as well as interest in certain Internet of Things (IoT) applications and devices, and the introduction of fifth-​generation (5G) wireless technologies.

Inflection point for tablets and wearables

While smartphone penetration continued to increase this year, the same was not true for tablets. They suffered the largest year-​over-​year decline in market penetration of any device category, per the survey, slipping 5% (from 62% to 57%) and seem to now have more specific uses among different age groups.

  • Smartphones are the fastest growing of 10 device categories. Their 3% growth rate is triple that of the one other device category with positive growth, smartwatches, now used by 14% of Americans.
  • Trailing smartphones in consumer penetration are laptops (77%), desktop computers (57%), tablets (57%), fitness bands (21%), virtual reality (VR) headsets (8%) and smartwatches (14%).
  • In daily usage, tablets (52%) now rank behind smartphones (94%), laptops (74%), desktop computers (71%), smartwatches (67%), and fitness bands (60%).
  • Daily usage for wearables, however, is growing for owners of fitness bands (60% versus 53% in 2017) and smartwatches (67% versus 62% in 2017).

Voice assistant technologies "make noise" with consumers

Voice control's adoption curve suggests it will be the next big thing in human computer interaction, after touch.

  • Nearly two-​thirds (64% of respondents have used the voice assistant on their smartphones, up 11% from last year.
  • Nearly half (46%) have used the voice assistant within the last week, if not in the last day.
  • Market penetration of voice-​assisted speakers has nearly doubled over the past year (growing from 12 to 20%).
  • 69% of respondents who own voice-​assisted speakers report using their voice-​assistance capabilities weekly, and 47% do so daily.

IoT intrigues, but will consumers pay?

Connected devices are everywhere, but consumers' interest in them is mixed.

  • 73% of respondents 73% expressed interest in the connected house.
  • While survey respondents view home-​control (55%) and home-​monitoring solutions (53%) as having the greatest potential value, only slightly over half say they are willing to pay for connected home products and services.

Consumers eager for 5G networks and devices

As people demand more from their devices, consumers want faster data speeds, lower latency, improved responsiveness and better performance among connected devices. That bodes well for 5G's enormous capacity networks and smartphones.

  • Overall, 60% of respondents indicated that 5G is either "fairly" (34%) or "very" (26%) important to them now, compared with 55% who felt that way a year ago.
  • That interest rose across all age groups over the past year, even among those aged 65 and over, who saw a 9% jump to 31 percent.
  • The perceived importance of 5G is highest among the 25–34 age group (77% believe it's either fairly or very important).
  • Interestingly, 29% of respondents said their current 4G/​LTE network speed at home is either a little or much faster than their home Wi-​Fi, compared to 27% in 2017.

Industry outlook

While smartphone usage and behaviors are maturing, the report cites several trends that may be of interest to telecommunications carriers including:

  • The average age of smartphones is increasing with more than 80% of smartphone owners purchasing their latest phone within the last two years. Younger consumers have a relatively faster replacement cycle.
  • Notably, we are also seeing an increase in the numbers of respondents who have a second phone, as more than a third of those surveyed (34%) responded that they kept their previous phone as a spare when purchasing a new device.
  • Approximately 2 in 3 smartphone owners purchased their current phone in a walk-​in store, and 1 in 3 purchased it online, which is fairly consistent with past surveys.
  • Most in-​store purchases are made at carrier stores (69%, up from 67% last year), and most online purchases are made from carrier websites (50% this year, up from 47%).
  • Online sales from phone manufacturer websites almost doubled, albeit from a base of 8% last year to 14% this year.

Smartphone Users can be encouraged to buy the latest smartphone model and/​or other digital devices through digital advertising. According to AudienceSCAN, last year, 48.1% of these consumers took action after receiving an email ad and 38.8% clicked on text link ads on websites. They're also 6% more likely than other adults to find advertising on social networks useful to them. Traditional media also hold effective advertising tools such as TV commercials, that inspired 61% of this audience to take action last year.

AudienceSCAN data is available for your applications and dashboards through the SalesFuel API. Media companies and agencies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.