The LA Times reported this August that for the first time, more than half of Americans own smartphones. The news outlet cited a report by Chetan Sharma Consulting, which also revealed that smartphones comprised about 70% of all phones sold in the United States. Both facts have significant implications.
The fact that most Americans today have smartphones means that business and culture at large are changing. Employees are often expected to be on-call to answer emails at night and on weekends. Without sitting down to a laptop, people can now Google anything they want, anytime they want. Need directions to an unfamiliar? Easy, use the GPS built into your smartphone. Out with friends and want to find a top-rated restaurant in the vicinity? No problem.
If you don’t have a website for your business that is formatted for these mobile devices, then you are missing out. If you do have a mobile website, make sure that it is user-friendly and easy to read. It is not particularly expensive or difficult to contract someone to set up or improve your mobile website.
The fact that smartphones are being sold more often than regular cell phones means that this trend is set to continue. Smartphone prices are dropping as more customers begin to buy them. People who were in contracts are switching to smartphone as soon as they can, and people are more likely to “trade up” than to return to a regular phone.
According to Business News Daily online, people aged 25-34 are the largest consumers of smartphones. However, smartphone ownership has increased markedly in both younger and older age groups, as well as people who make less than $30,000 a year.
It may seem like everyone and their grandmother has a smartphone these days, but keep in mind that a large segment of the U.S. population still does not own a smartphone. Beware of sounding condescending or elitist when discussing the ubiquity of smartphones, depending on your audience.
But for many people, smartphones mean instant internet access 24-7. People check Facebook in their cars while idling at a red stoplight, order items off Amazon while out to dinner, and update their Twitter accounts during staff meetings. This obsessive-compulsive web-browsing can have serious consequences. Distracted drivers can kill or injure themselves and others. Emailing and texting (rather than calling or visiting in person) can be less effective and rather impersonal.
Smartphone use is widespread, and will only become more pervasive as prices continue to drop. Why does matter you ask? If you own a website, you must offer a mobile version —- do it now!
John Bradley Jackson
The BirdDog Group