About 7% of US mobile phone subscribers and 18% of smartphone subscribers used location-based “check-in” services on their phones in March 2011, according to comScore MobiLens data. In total, 16.7 million mobile subscribers, including 12.7 million smartphone subscribers (76% of the total), used location-based check-in.
Android accounted for the largest share of check-in service users, with about 37% checking-in from an Android device, while about 34% of users checked in from an iPhone, with Apple having the highest representation relative to its percentage of the total smartphone market (Index of 132). RIM accounted for 22% of check-in service users, while Microsoft, Palm and Symbian each accounted for less than 5%.
Check-in service users, defined as those accessing services such as Facebook Places, Foursquare and Gowalla, had heavy skews toward 18-24 year olds (26%) and 25-34 year olds (32.5%) in relation to both the total mobile audience and the overall smartphone audience. They were more likely to be full-time students (23.3%) when compared with total mobile (14.6%) or overall smartphone users (16.5%).
In addition, nearly half (46.4%) of check-in users were employed full time, slightly less than the percentage of smartphone users who were employed full time (53.3%). Both check-in service and smartphone users were more likely to be employed full time than overall mobile users (38.9%).
When compared with an average smartphone owner, social networking check-in users were more likely to access mobile media across a majority of content categories. More than 95% of check-in service users used their mobile browser or applications. Nearly 62% accessed news. comScore analysis indicates check-in user behavior was also consistent with that of traditional early adopters, with 40.3% of users accessing tech news and 28.2% owning a media tablet, both significantly higher than average.
Check-in service users also showed a high propensity for accessing retail-related destinations on their mobile devices. Nearly one-third of users accessed online retail sites on their mobiles, while one-fourth accessed shopping guides. Check-in service users were also more likely to be exposed to mobile advertising, with nearly 40% recalling seeing a web or app ad during the month, compared to just 27.5% of smartphone users.
Young adults have the highest awareness of smartphone geolocation applications, according to a spring 2011 study from digital marketing agency White Horse. Results of “Lost in Geolocation” indicate awareness of location-based apps peaks at more than 60% among US adults age 20-29. The only other age group with an awareness level of more than 50% is teens age 14-19. Adults age 30-49 have roughly 50% awareness of location-based apps, while less than 30% of adults age 50-79 are aware these applications exist.
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