July 20, 2012
New research from Ofcom has highlighted the importance of the smartphone in the British shopping experience. According to Ofcom's Communications Market Report 2012, we are seeing the emergence of the "Robo" (research offline buy online) shopper — and smartphones are playing an important part in this trend.
Its findings show that more than half of smartphone users claim to use their phone in some way when out shopping. This includes taking photos of products (31%), making online price comparisons (25%), scanning bar codes to get more product information (21%), reading product reviews online (19%) and researching product features (19%).
Four in ten (39%) adults now own a smartphone, a 12% increase on 2010. 42% of these now say that their smartphone is the most important device for accessing the internet, with over four in ten (42%) regularly using social networking sites and half (51%) using email.
Mark Haviland, managing director of affiliate network Rakuten LinkShare, said: "Brits have become a nation of 'information shoppers' who look to compare different items and research products on everything from content sites and blogs to voucher and deal sites, to find something tailored exactly to their needs. This places even more emphasis on the need to integrate the online and high street experience as consumers use mobiles to gain access to more information than ever before."
The Ofcom report also shows that the number of texts sent has more than doubled in four years, with the average UK consumer now sending 50 texts per week. And talking on the phone is in decline, with the volume of calls from landlines down by 10% and calls from mobiles down by just over 1%.
Mobile messaging specialist, Acision, has conducted research into the psychology of SMS. The study, which was evaluated by leading psychologist Graham Jones, questioned 2,000 respondents in the UK and US. It found that men tended to text a larger number of contacts than women while women are more likely to send longer text messages (41%).
Graham Jones said: "People today are compartmentalising their messages as they all have a specific purpose. Email is being used much less for personal communication and much more for business, whereas social networks tend to remain a medium to message friends and peers, sometimes on a one-to-many basis. Text messaging remains a functional communication tool, but still with a personal aspect, which could explain its longevity."