Since the launch of the iPhone in 2007 and the iPad in 2010, dig­i­tal mar­keters have been chal­lenged to under­stand how con­sumers engage with 2 new cat­e­gories of mobile devices:  1) Smart­phones, 2) Tablets. Ear­lier this year, the Adobe Dig­i­tal Index reported on mobile trends and insights based on the analy­sis of more than 23 bil­lion dig­i­tal trans­ac­tions cap­tured by the Adobe Dig­i­tal Mar­ket­ing Suite. For exam­ple, we pub­lished reports on the “Rise of tablets and the impact on mobile web engage­ment” (See link) and “Impact of tablets on retail web­sites” (See link).

To com­ple­ment this research that focuses on actual vis­i­tor behav­ior, Adobe recently com­pleted a qual­i­ta­tive sur­vey of over 1200 mobile users across age groups located in the US:  young (18–29), middle-aged (30–49), and older (50–64). We are glad to share the fol­low­ing con­clu­sions and insights:

Mobile device ownership

  • For con­sumers who own both a smart­phone and a tablet, the pri­mary device is still the smart­phone (88%).
  • Android smart­phones are the most pop­u­lar by own­er­ship per­cent­age (58% young, 50% mid­dle, 38% senior) across all age groups.
  • Apple tablets (iPads) are the most pop­u­lar with young (27%) and mid­dle age (31%) groups. How­ever, the Kin­dle Fire is the leader among seniors (22%). A major­ity of tablet own­ers (56%) share their device with other fam­ily members.

Social media and mobile access

  • Face­book is the dom­i­nant social net­work accessed via mobile at 85%, fol­lowed by Twit­ter at 35%, and Google+ at 21%.
  • A major­ity of brands pro­vide mobile-optimized expe­ri­ences for offers that are launched from their Face­book fan pages via mobile devices.
  • Over 87% of young and mid­dle age groups access social media via mobile devices.

Mobile adver­tis­ing

  • Mobile ads pre­sented in both sites and apps have a high click-through rate (42% and 37%, respectively).
  • A major­ity of adver­tis­ers pro­vide mobile-optimized expe­ri­ences when con­sumers click through on ads.
  • Men are more likely to click through on mobile ads pre­sented within apps than women (42% ver­sus 32%).

Emerg­ing Tac­tics and Technology

  • Scan­ning QR codes is becom­ing a main­stream activ­ity: 38% of young and 40% of mid­dle age have scanned in the past three months.
  • Loca­tion ser­vices are on the rise and are being dri­ven by con­sumer incen­tives to check in. Younger demo­graphics are more likely to check in (35%) ver­sus senior at 18%.
  • Aug­mented real­ity and mobile wal­lets are still in the early stages. Only 19% of young adults have used aug­mented real­ity or mobile wal­lets. Men are more likely than women to use these emerg­ing technologies.

What is surprising?

When I review these con­clu­sions, the most sur­pris­ing met­ric to me is that over 42 per­cent of our sam­ple have clicked-thru on mobile adver­tis­ing, dis­played on mobile web­sites. This is note­wor­thy given some of the recent chal­lenges that Face­book has expe­ri­enced in mon­e­tiz­ing social media con­sumed on mobile devices.  In addi­tion, con­sumers reported that a major­ity of adver­tis­ers are pro­vid­ing mobile-optimized expe­ri­ences when they click through ads on both mobile web­sites (73 per­cent) and mobile apps (77 per­cent), sug­gest­ing that opti­miza­tion of mobile ad con­tent appears to be preva­lent.  How­ever, there still remains room for improve­ment since ide­ally 100 per­cent of mobile adver­tis­ing should drive con­sumers to mobile opti­mized land­ing pages.

Finally, for emerg­ing tac­tics, over 40 per­cent of middle-aged adults have recently scanned QR codes, which shows that inno­v­a­tive mobile tac­tics are not iso­lated to just young adults.  To down­load the com­plete sur­vey results along with rec­om­men­da­tions and best prac­tices, please click the fol­low­ing link:  Mobile con­sumer sur­vey 2012.

Fur­ther­more, please see the fol­low­ing blog­post for insights related to the mobile user expe­ri­ence that were also part of the sur­vey:  Mobile con­sumer design tips.