Feature Article

February 08, 2016

Consumers Use Smartphones as Entertainment Hub, Study Finds

Despite the proliferation of entertainment apps for mobile devices (think Netflix, Youtube, or HBOGo), the general assumption has been that the primary function of the smartphone has been for communication. That is, the idea that people mostly use their smartphones for texting, calling, and video chatting was still the leading philosophy.

However, a GfK MRI study released earlier this month, entitled Mobile Now, revealed a startling contradiction to this study. According to their research, which tracked the using habits of almost 6,000 mobile users throughout late 2015, the proportion of time smartphone users spend on communication and entertainment is actually identical.

According to the study, there are three primary functions that take of the bulk of smartphone usage. Phone calls, text messaging, and entertainment (streaming video, reading books and articles, and playing games) all account for 22 percent of the time people spend on their smartphones. Social media and email are the other two common uses, each accounting for ten percent of time spent.

This study should serve to indicate the increased prevalence of mobile devices in the everyday lives of people. Whereas in the past, people had one place that they would go to for communication (their phone) and another for entertainment (their living room television or desktop computer), the smartphone has begun to consolidate all of those activities.

Christie Kawada, the executive vice president of GfK MRI product innovation, calls smartphones the new “first screen,” meaning that this increased reliance on smartphones for entertainment as well as their traditional roles have made smartphones the place that users spend the majority of their time.

Thus, marketers and advertisers should spend the greatest amount of their time, energy, and money, gearing their efforts towards mobile. As the functionality that smartphones offer increases, more and more people will increase both the time and range of activities that they spend on their smartphone. Marketers need to recognize this and leverage this new trend in the habits of consumers. 

Edited by Kyle Piscioniere

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