Mobile Data Research Opportunities Grow

Gone are the days when all you could do on your phone was make calls and send texts, and you had to lug around a handset the size of a small brick. Now increasing numbers of us are using smartphones on which people can surf the internet, take photos and use apps as well as making calls and sending texts. Many marketers are seeing this growing smartphone use as a huge opportunity for market research and are approaching the concept in innovative ways.

Market Size

The market for smartphones is huge, and growing steadily. It is estimated that there are 6 billion smartphones being used around the world, and more than half of us in the UK have and use a smartphone. As handsets come down in price and contracts end, it’s fair to say that this number will rise even higher. The apps market has grown from almost zero in little over 5 years, and all major companies are looking at ways to interact with their customer base by using mobile apps and technology.


Most companies are actively exploring the possibilities offered by mobile phone research as a new method of being able to interact with their customers. One of the major benefits is the speed of the information being relayed after purchase. Imagine you have a customer who has downloaded your research app into their phone, and by using GPS you know they have just gone into a major supermarket. They can then be immediately targeted with surveys relevant to what they are buying and why, and data can be more accurate when the purchase or decision is fresh in the memory. As well as the basic questionnaire, the smartphone also gives the market researcher the opportunity to ask participants to scan bar codes of the products they are buying or have rejected, take pictures of items or displays in the store or labelling on products. Some of the research doesn’t even have to involve answering questions. Apps can track where people go using GPS, track how long they spend in each store, and gather data about other issues such as how they manage their music collection, how long they spend taking photographs or how often they download new music or apps to use on their phone.

Getting People Involved

This all sounds great, but it does of course hinge on getting enough people involved and downloading the apps to be able to take the surveys. Perhaps surprisingly, over 80% of people surveyed in recent research said that they would be prepared to download the research app onto their smartphone and be targeted with surveys as they go about their everyday business. One of the main drawbacks of traditional or internet based research is that it can be skewed in favour of certain demographic groups and it can be difficult to get a representative sample. Young men, for example, are often reluctant to participate in traditional surveys but seem happy to complete surveys on their phone.

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This was an article by Kieran Graham of Mobile Enterprise Solutions. MESL specialise in Mobile Data Systems for delivery companies and supply chains. Follow Mobile Enterprise Systems on Twitter to keep up to date.

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