Chapter 32

The Ever-Changing Consumer

According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, by 2011 cell phones had easily become the most popular device among American adults. Approximately 85 percent of adults owned a cell phone, and 90 percent of all adults—including an astounding 62 percent of those age 75 and older—were living in a household with at least one working cell phone.

Pew found that the device, to use an Apple advertising phrase, had changed everything. Specifically:

  • Half of all adult cell owners (51 percent) had used their phone at least once to get information they needed right away.
  • One quarter (27 percent) said that they had experienced a situation in the previous month in which they had trouble doing something because they did not have their phone at hand.
  • Forty percent said they found themselves in an emergency situation in which having their phone with them helped.
  • Forty-two percent used their phone for entertainment when they were bored.

Pew’s data was in line with what we found through Hipcricket’s fourth annual survey that was conducted in the fall of 2011. The company learned that mobile retail websites had emerged as an indispensible in-store tool for consumers as they shop. The questioning revealed that consumers—particularly smartphone owners—were turning to mobile retail sites as a critical tool for locating the products they want, searching for coupons and special discounts, and comparing prices at competitors’ stores.

According to the survey, ...

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