1 in 2 Smartphone and Tablet Owners Say They Prefer Them to PCs For Web Access

Prosper-Web-Access-Preferences-by-Device-May2013A survey of adult smartphone and tablet owners by Prosper Mobile Insights [registration required] has found that 35% prefer to access the internet via a smartphone and 14% via a tablet, meaning that only a bare majority still prefer to use their desktop or laptop computer. In fact, a slight majority of male respondents prefer to access the internet via a smartphone (36.9%) or tablet (14.9%). Females lean a little more heavily towards the desktop or laptop, as fewer prefer to rely on their smartphones (32.7%).

Approximately 9 in 10 respondents completed the survey on a smartphone, with the remainder on a tablet, suggesting that some respondents own both devices.

While it’s sometimes easy to forget that smartphone penetration isn’t yet ubiquitous (although it’s rising quickly), the findings are another reminder of the importance of optimizing websites for mobile devices, with a recent study suggesting that close to half of smartphone and tablet owners will never re-visit a site that is not optimized.

Asked to choose which of 3 statements best describes their smartphone use, just 7% of respondents overall said they use it for basic functions, such as calling, texting, or emailing. For what it’s worth, those 3 activities account for 55% of daily time spent using a smartphone, per recent data from Experian Marketing Services. Most survey respondents indicate that they use all their smartphone’s functions, and that “it’s my life,” a fairly strong statement to be sure.

Other Findings:

  • Half of respondents prefer accessing the internet via a smartphone or tablet, even though about half have experienced internet connection issues. Short battery life (44.9%) was the next-most common complaint with the mobile device.
  • The most common problems experienced with mobile service providers are too-expensive data plans (50.9%) and slow internet connections (42.9%).
  • 69% of respondents believe that the best service/coverage is more important than the newest technology when it comes to their smartphone or tablet, with this attitude more prevalent among women (76.8%).

About the Data: The survey was conducted in April among 336 smartphone and tablet users.