The growth in usage of connected devices has grown spectacularly in the past two years, and Google has just unveiled a raft of new stats on the subject. The figures come out of a global study covering more than 35 countries that Google has been running for the past two years.
The study reveals that smartphone usage in the UK has more than doubled in the two years, rising to 62 per cent. Meanwhile, tablet usage tripled in the last year, rising from 11 per cent to 30 per cent.
In almost all the countries studied, people use more than one connected device. European countries like the UK, Norway and the Netherlands lead the way with people using, on average, at least three connected devices. In the US, the average person uses 2.9 devices, while the average in China is 1.4. In southern Europe, where internet usage is slightly lower than northern Europe, people use two or more connected devices. Globally, all countries are growing fast, and many have seen tablet usage double or even triple in the past year.
The rapid growth in multiple device usage has had a major impact on people’s lives. Nearly three quarters of British smartphone users go online with their mobile every day, 80 per cent never leave home without it, and 54 per cent search the web from their mobile daily. Two thirds of smartphone owners said they expect websites to work as well on their phone as on their desktop.
61 per cent of smartphone owners use their phone for researching or buying products, and while 52 per cent research products on their phone at home, many do so out of home as well: 25 per cent do so on the go, 19 per cent on public transport, and 18 per cent in store. Peaks in mobile product research happen during lunch, just before the evening commute and after dinner.
The research process crosses devices, especially when research behaviour before purchase is intense. For instance, 93 per cent of smartphone owners use their mobile, desktop or tablet to research travel products, while 70 per cent use them to research technology products. While research behaviour is different across product categories, it is very similar across devices: price, quality information, reviews, ratings and location are common topics of research across all devices.
Research on smartphones affects purchases on mobile and elsewhere. For example, after researching a travel product on the smartphone, 12 per cent completed their purchase on the smartphone, and 88 per cent on the desktop/tablet or offline.
The lesson to be learned from these figures, says Google, is that people care more about context than what device happens to be at their disposal: What time of day is it? Where are they? How far away are they from their destination or store? The other conclusion to be drawn from the stats is that, should anyone still be in any doubt, we are truly living in a multi-screen world.
There’s an infographic with key stats from the study in the attached PDF.