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When it comes to engaging consumers, mobile represents one of the best opportunities for insight and marketing teams today. That's because mobile makes it easier than ever for people to communicate with each other and the whole world.

Not only that: mobile technology provides a wealth of data about people's behaviors - data that, when used correctly, can lead to insights.

But don't take our word for it; we'll let the numbers do the talking. These 11 stats reveal 3 big trends affecting the way marketers and researchers use mobile to better connect with consumers:

Global mobile adoption grows exponentially.

  1. As of 2013, a majority of American adults (56%) already own a smartphone of some kind. (Source: Pew Internet)
  2. Of those who use their phones to go online, 34% do "most" of their internet browsing via mobile. (Source: Pew Research Center)
  3. As of September 2013, mobile devices drive 20% of all global Internet traffic. (Source: StatCounter)

You already know that the mobile phenomenon is huge, but stats show that it still has a lot of room to grow. With tech companies introducing more affordable smartphones - and as Internet becomes more accessible in developing countries - mobile adoption is poised to continue its global growth.

Brands already leverage mobile for better marketingÛ_

  1. 35% of people who have made an online purchase after tweeting, retweeting, or favoriting an item on Twitter say that they used a mobile device to make all of those purchases. (Source: Vision Critical)
  2. Worldwide mobile advertising revenue will reach $11.4 billion this year. (Source: Gartner)
  3. As of July 2013, mobile payments on US Starbucks locations account for 10% of its in-store purchases. (Source: TechCrunch)

From social media to advertising, the mobile phenomenon is changing how brands market to consumers. Keeping your pulse on these trends will help ensure that people find your research and marketing tactics fresh and relevant.

Û_But brands still have some work to do when it comes to adopting mobile research

  1. Just second to online communities, mobile surveys are one of the most popular emerging trends in research, with 42% of companies saying that they have used it in 2012 and with 45% more considering it for 2013. (Source: GreenBook's 2013 Research Industry Trends Report)
  2. In 2012, 18% of research companies have used mobile qualitative methods. (Source: GreenBook's 2013 Research Industry Trends Report)
  3. In the same year, 24% of research companies have used mobile surveys. (Source: GreenBook's 2013 Research Industry Trends Report)
  4. As of December 2012, 37% of people open their email on mobile devices (Source: Return Path), which means about one-third of people in your community will open your survey and discussion email invitations on their phone.
  5. A UK study done this year shows that nearly 25% of 18-24 year olds use mobile devices (phone or tablets) to complete surveys. Also, 20% of 25-44 year olds complete surveys on a mobile device. (Source: Vision Critical)

Historically, the research industry has been slow to adopt mobile technologies to engage consumers. Research needs to catch up. (That's why Vision Critical recently introduced mobile discussions.)

The preceding stats show that the research industry has some work to do to be able to reach mobile's full potential in helping brands get closer to their customers. In the immediate future, this means integrating mobile qualitative and quantitative studies more seamlessly. In the long term, it involves using mobile's advanced features such as geo-location to get the larger context of people's experiences.

What trends in mobile research and marketing have caught your eye recently? Let us know in the comments.

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Kelvin Claveria

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

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