19 September 2013

Two recent reports by Pew Internet

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Both studies are about the USA market.

Location-based services
(Released on September 12, 2013)

The role of location in digital life is changing as growing numbers of internet users are adding a new layer of location information to their posts, and a majority of smartphone owners use their phones’ location-based services.

A new survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project sheds light on three major aspects of how location figures in digital life:

  • Many people use their smartphones to navigate the world: 74% of adult smartphone owners ages 18 and older say they use their phone to get directions or other information based on their current location.
  • There is notable growth in the number of social media users who are now setting their accounts to include location in their posts: Among adult social media users ages 18 and older, 30% say that at least one of their accounts is currently set up to include their location in their posts, up from 14% who said they had ever done this in 2011.
  • There is a modest drop in the number of smartphone owners who use “check in” location services: Some 12% of adult smartphone owners say they use a geosocial service to “check in” to certain locations or share their location with friends, down from 18% in early 2012. Among these geosocial service users, 39% say they check into places on Facebook, 18% say they use Foursquare, and 14% say they use Google Plus, among other services.

Interestingly, “Among adult cell phone users ages 18 and older who have downloaded apps to their cell phone, 35% have turned off the location tracking feature on their phone at some point because they were worried about other people or companies being able to access that information. This works out to 19% of adult cell phone owners overall as of April 2012. […] Almost half of teen cell or tablet app users have turned off the location-tracking feature on their cell phone or in an app.”

Cell Internet Use 2013
(Released on September 19, 2013)

63% of adult cell owners now use their phones to go online, a figure that has doubled since we first started tracking internet usage on cell phones in 2009. In addition, 34% of these cell internet users say that they mostly go online using their cell phone. That means that 21% of all adult cell owners now do most of their online browsing using their mobile phone—and not some other device such as a desktop or laptop computer.

“A majority of the public now owns a smartphone, and mobile devices are playing an increasingly central role in the way that Americans access online services and information,” said Aaron Smith, a Senior Researcher at the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project. “For many, such as younger adults or lower-income Americans, cell phones are often a primary device for accessing online content—a development that has particular relevance to companies and organizations seeking to reach these groups.”

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