IDG Global Solutions Mobile Users Survey Finds Worldwide Reliance on Smartphones

77% Use Smartphones in Their Business and Personal Lives

Smartphones and tablets are wiping out a wide variety of consumer devices that provided either audio or video to many generations. According to the 21,590 mobile device users responding to a spring 2012 poll by IDG Global Solutions, any single-purpose audio device is vulnerable to replacement by a smartphone. (Graphic: Business Wire)

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.--()--More than 21,000 survey participants worldwide have told IDG Global Solutions (IGS) that they depend on mobile devices day and night for much more than calls, texting, and email. Among the more popular activities with smartphone and tablet users were browsing the Internet, mobile apps, and social networking. Single-use devices are being replaced by mobile products with a majority of respondents saying they are no longer using stand-alone clock/alarm, personal organizer, music player, and 35% have dropped a landline phone.

While mobile usage soars, marketing spend lags far behind. According to an eMarketer report, U.S. adults spend an average of 10% of their time on mobile devices per day, but in 2011 only 1% of marketing spend was devoted to mobile. The imbalance will change as IDC’s Karsten Weide, program VP, Media & Entertainment, projects that worldwide mobile ad revenues will rise from almost $8 billion this year to $14.2 billion in 2014.

Work not Confined to Business Hours

The online research last spring polled visitors to 124 IDG media sites and represented the input of IT and business users as well as consumers in Europe, Asia Pacific, North America, and Latin America. More respondents said they were likely to access technology information after business hours (57%) than during the workday (42%). A majority (61%) said they view videos on mobile phones led by technology product reviews (56%), job-related videos (45%), and movies (44%).

“Before mobility, we were tied to an office. Now, with handhelds, work is a verb and not a place,” said Matthew Yorke, president, IDG Global Solutions.

“The IT professional and tech-savvy communities are out front in both the adoption and use of this most personal device, the smartphone. What more persuasive argument do marketers need to justify more than a 1% spend on mobile marketing?” asked Kumaran Ramanathan, managing director, IDG Global Solutions, whose team conducted the survey.

Mobile Industry Dominated by a Few Companies

Survey participants strongly prefer two operating systems: Apple’s iOS (35%) and Google’s Android (33%). Nokia’s Symbian and Research in Motion’s BlackBerry are used by 8% of the respondents.

Opinions varied widely regarding important features and functions of handhelds. The highest rated attribute by a slight margin was operating system (14%) followed closely by functionality (13%), latest technology (12%), and battery power (12%), with cost listed as the fifth most important (11%).

Keeping a Tab on Tablets

The survey found that half of the respondents own or use a tablet and half of them use it for work. Asked about how they use their tablets, web browsing (92%) and reading email (81%) led the way followed by accessing tablet apps, watching videos, and reading newspapers and magazines.

However, 82% said the tablet is not their primary computer.

Limited Willingness to Trade Content for Contact Details

A key question for marketers is how much information a user might share to obtain content. Western European smartphone users were most likely to provide contact details (40%) compared with North Americans (22%) even though Western Europe has tougher privacy laws. Of those willing to supply contact information, 77% said they would give an email address, while only 23% would provide business card information.

The Full Report

A 15-page report on the global mobile research with charts is available at IDG Global Solutions is the centralized marketing services division for IDG. Established in 1994, IGS was created to connect technology marketers with purchasing decision makers around the globe.

About International Data Group

International Data Group (IDG) is the world's leading technology media, events and research company. Founded in 1964 and headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, IDG products and services reach an audience of more than 280 million technology buyers in 97 countries.

IDG Communications' global media brands include ChannelWorld®, CIO®, CSO®, Computerworld®, GamePro®, InfoWorld®, Macworld®, Network World®, PCWorld® and TechWorld®. IDG’s media network features 460 websites, 200 mobile sites and apps and 200 print titles spanning business technology, consumer technology, digital entertainment, and video games worldwide. The IDG TechNetwork represents hundreds of independent websites in an ad network and exchange complementary to IDG’s media brands.

A recognized leader in conference and exhibition management, IDG produces more than 700 globally branded technology and entertainment conferences and events in 55 countries.

International Data Corporation (IDC), a subsidiary of IDG, has more than 1,000 analysts who provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in more than 110 countries.

Additional information about IDG, a privately held company, is available at

Trademarks and registered trademarks are owned by International Data Group, Inc. All product and company names are trademarks of their respective companies.

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IDG Global Solutions
Howard Sholkin, 508-766-5610

Release Summary

IDG Global Solutions mobile survey shows 77% of respondents use smartphones. Browsing the web, mobile apps, and social networking among popular uses. Users rely on mobile for work out of office.


IDG Global Solutions
Howard Sholkin, 508-766-5610