Smartphone use in the U.S. continues to rise across age groups, especially those under 55, according to a new survey conducted by Nielsen. The survey found that the number of smartphone users under 55 has reached nearly three in four U.S. mobile users (75%). Even usage for those over 55 is high – 33% of subscribers 55-64 and 22% of those 65 and over use smartphones .While smartphone usage did increase with income, the survey indicated that more than half of U.S. mobile users (over 50%) used smartphones across all age and income groups.
What’s especially exciting about these numbers is what we already know about the high affinity of smartphone users to use their devices to preview and shop for products and services. A survey released by Pew Internet and American Life Project last month found that more than half of U.S. adult mobile users (52%) used their devices while shopping in a store over this past holiday season. Among those users, 24% used their devices to research online reviews and compare products and services. Of those, 41% were ages 18-29, 34% were 30-49, and 13% were 50-64.
The results of these reports shine light on the growing importance of local businesses creating mobile-friendly websites and ensuring the most up-to-date information on local search sites ranging from Yelp to YP.com or SuperPages. Since most mobile websites and apps rely on GPS technology, local businesses have a new opportunity to reach customers as people increasing turn to these sites for shopping information on the go. As smartphones continues to become more afforable and accesible, mobile search and commerce will continue to grow and play a greater role in how local businesses get found.