Study: Growing “Mobile Fanatics” Segment Search More, Increasingly Shun PCs

New consumer survey data from Thrive Analytics (for the Local Search Association) reflect the emergence of a large and growing mobile user segment dubbed “mobile fanatics.” Just over 40 percent of the U.S. smartphone population, these mobile users search more and rely more on their mobile devices than conventional smartphone users.

The segment is defined as mobile users who “conduct at least 10 searches per week on at least two devices from multiple locations.” According to comScore data, internet users in the U.S. conduct an average of about 17.5 searches a week. While the report doesn’t identify mobile search query volumes at the high end, it’s clear that PC and mobile search queries are approaching parity.

Last year, Google representatives projected that mobile queries would overtake PC volumes this year — though there’s been no formal confirmation of this to date.

One of the more provocative findings from the survey is that mobile devices are now used more often for local search and to find local information than PCs. Accordingly, 60 percent of U.S. adults now typically choose smartphones or tablets over PCs to find information before buying products and services offline. Google and Microsoft previously reported that half or nearly half of mobile search query volume carries a “local intent.”

The implications of these findings for retailers, QSR, local services (really anyone that sells products or services offline) are immediate and fairly obvious. If you’re not making a full mobile push you’re potentially losing sales to competitors.

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