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As part of the social media team at Vision Critical, it's probably not surprising that I have an unhealthy attachment to my iPhone. I use it for everything: text messages, emails, tweets, etc. When I'm not busy posting to Vine, I'm 'liking' my friends' vignettes on Instagram.

As it turns out, I'm not alone in my mobile obsession. The world is obsessed with mobile devices - and marketing and research folks should take notice. Consider these stats:

  1. Mobile broadband subscription growth averages 40% annually, climbing from 268 million in 2007 to 2.1 billion in 2013. (Source: International Telecommunications Union)
  2. In 2013, there are almost as many mobile-cellular subscriptions as people in the world, with more than half in the Asia-Pacific region (3.5 billion out of 6.8 billion total subscriptions). (Source ITU)
  3. More people have access to mobile phones than to toilets or latrines. (Source: United Nations)
  4. Similarly, more people are users of mobile devices than owners of toothbrushes. (Source: Mobile Marketing Association)
  5. Mobile usage makes up about 15 percent of all Internet traffic - and it's not showing any signs of slowing down. (Source: TechCrunch) Mobile is already huge, but it's just getting started.
  6. At the end of 2013, mobile search queries in South Korea are expected to exceed the number of PC queries. (Source: All Things D) Mobile isn't just a West thing.
  7. Over one third (37%) of time spent consuming digital media is now spent on mobile devices rather than PCs. (Source: comScore)
  8. In 2012, 72 percent of all newly-acquired mobile devices are smartphones. (Source: comScore) This is great news for researchers who would like to take advantage of the rich features of smartphones.
  9. The average response time for emails is 90 minutes; for text messages, it's 90 seconds. (Source: CTIA)
  10. Compared to traditional coupons, mobile coupons have 10x the redemption rate. (Source: Borrell Associates)
  11. More than three quarters of the world's mobile phones are located in the developiing world - and growth is set to rocket. (Source: MediaPost)

These stats have huge implications for marketers and research professionals, including the following:

  • The mobile era is just getting started. Mobile devices are everywhere now, but as Mary Meeker recently pointed out, the mobile domination still has a lot of room to grow. For researchers and marketers, the call to action is clear: figure out mobile soon or risk being left out.
  • People love their smartphones. As the quick response time for text messages shows, people feel an attachment to their smartphones. If you want quicker responses for your research, mobile has the potential to deliver that simply because people love their phones.
  • Mobile can give you richer data. The rich features of smartphone means researchers could potentially get more in-the-moment responses without ever observing people in person. For marketers, smartphones provide a platform to deliver more compelling content. Researchers should look for ways to take advantage of the rich features of smartphones to get more accurate information; for marketers, there's an opportunity to use mobile to tell their stories in a much more engaging way.
  • Mobile is a global phenomenon. The ubiquity of mobile devices isn't restricted to countries in the West. If your research needs to reach people from all socio-economic levels from anywhere around the world, mobile devices provide you with a platform to do so.

As you can see, mobile provides the best opportunities to reach consumers in real time - it is a research revolution. The challenge for marketing folks it to adapt: mobile provides more personalized, bite sized experiences for consumers, and we need to adapt our tactics accordingly.

To learn more about the application of mobile devices to research, download the Gen 2 white paper "Blurring of online and offline worlds - The future of mobile in research".

How are you taking advantage of mobile devices to enhance your research and your marketing efforts?

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Kelvin Claveria

Kelvin Claveria was formerly a Content Marketing Manager at Vision Critical.

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