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Ipsos OTX Study: Mobile Phones Have Become Our Lovers

Smartphones have reached a critical mass, but tablets are honing in on the action

People are having an increasingly intimate relationship with their smartphones, according to a study by Ipsos/OTX on mobile consumers presented at TheWrap’s media leadership conference, TheGrill.

If computers are our sages and televisions are our jesters, Ipsos OTX President Bruce Friend said iPhones and Androids are our lovers.

“It’s almost always turned on. It never leaves you. You have an intimate relationship with it,” Friend said.

(Photograph by Jonathan Alcorn)

The intensity of the attraction has helped smart phones reach a critical mass. Currently, 47 percent of the 7,500 U.S. online customers surveyed by the research marketing firm have a smartphone.

By the end of 2012, that number should rise to 70 percent.

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That’s critical for entertainment companies, because users are increasingly using their phones to play video games and watch shows.

Indeed, smartphone users spend 30 percent more on media and entertainment content than their peers.

Eighty-seven percent of smartphone users spend 13 minutes a day connecting to social networking sites, 55 percent use their mobile devices to spend 2 minutes a day reading about entertainment and news, and 71 percent spend 12 minutes a day playing games.

Pity poor pornography. Three percent of users spend only about a minute a day accessing adult entertainment.

It’s also a crucial platform for drumming up viewership and interest in movies and television.

Eighty-eight percent of those surveyed said they would switch channels to watch a program if they got a recommendation from a friend. Eighty-two percent said they would look up more information about the program.

But smartphones’ dominance may be waning.

Currently, about  10 percent of US online consumers have tablets and that number should grow to between 20 and 25 percent in 2012.  

“The tablet is rapidly becoming a companion or even a competitor to the smartphone,” Friend said.

“Tablets reduce smartphone as entertainment devices,” he added.

Tablets, Friend said, are quickly replacing the laptop as the mobile device users favor to take a with them, to access email on the run, and to stream content on the go.

Whether on iPhone or iPad, the importance of apps cannot be overstated for content makers. For instance,  80 percent of users are accessing Facebook via its app versus 72 percent through its website and Youtube fans access 44 percent via the app versus 22 percent through the website.  

Friend presented original data, and also drew on two other previous studies, the Ipsos OTX MediaCT for Microsoft Advertising and BBDO, and the bi-annual Ipsos OTX MediaCT’s LMX study (Longitudinal Media eXperience).