Trends in Mobility [Report]

In Mobility by Shelly Kramer2 Comments

Smartphones have become such a big part of our everyday lives that it’s easy to forget that it’s less than ten years since the first iPhone saw the light of day. To many, the fact that there was a time when our devices weren’t an integral part of our lives, connecting us to family, friends, and work 24/7 seems impossible. However crazy it sounds, mobility is still in its infancy, and trends in our attitudes, our behavior, and our expectations are rapidly evolving.

Whether you’re a marketer, an IT pro, a sales rep, or a senior executive, understanding trends in mobility is likely a key component of your success, and of the success of your business. Bank of America’s second annual Trends in Consumer Mobility Report surveyed 1,000 adults across the U.S. to find out more about their smartphone usage, as well as their attitudes and feelings towards their devices. Although obviously undertaken with a banking slant, the report provides some fascinating insights about how mobile is impacting our lives, particularly the differing attitudes between the generations—and it might be stuff you want to know.

Always Connected

Do you reach for your smartphone as soon as you wake up? If you do, then you aren’t alone. The report shows that more than a third (35 percent) of Americans do exactly the same, even before going to get that first cup of coffee.

always connected

We are reluctant to let go at the end of the day, too, with almost three-quarters (71 percent) of respondents admitting they sleep with their mobiles on or next to the bed. It’s no surprise to learn that the Millennial cohort (those ages 18-24) are the most reluctant to be parted from their devices, with a third saying that they sleep with them on the bed. Mine is on my bed at night—what about yours?

When it comes to the waking hours, a large majority (89 percent) reported they check their phone at least a few times a day, with more than a third (36 percent) of the total said they are constantly checking and using their phone. Is this likely to increase? Well of course it will. More than half (54 percent) of Millennials report their mobile is constantly in use (mine is, too), and a massive 90 percent said they check their phone at least once every hour. I do, too. Multiple times per hour. How about you?

 always connected 2

Many people admit to never totally disconnecting from their smartphones.

  • Just 17 percent said they wouldn’t turn back if they left home without their phone.
  • Only seven percent said they completely unplug when on holiday.
  • A third of respondents claimed they couldn’t last a day without their phone, while one in 10 said they wouldn’t even last an hour.

There is certainly an argument that this obsession with our devices is a little much, but that’s a topic for another day. The reality is that our devices are omnipresent and perpetually in use. For marketers especially, these are important trends to stay abreast of. That’s why we’re seeing the importance of mobile friendly websites, an increase in mobile advertising, as well as a focus on mobile search.

The Etiquette of Mobile 

As with most things, people have certain expectations of how, when, and where mobile devices should be used. But not everyone’s boundaries lie in the same places, and where differences appear, they are largely between generations of mobile users.

While three-quarters of survey respondents said they have mobile boundaries, and that some places aren’t appropriate for phone use, 12 percent felt that they should be able to use their phone anywhere, with the Millennial group (surprise!) scoring way above the average for the most regular phone faux pas, including:

  • Texting during meals (rude);
  • Checking the phone in the middle of a conversation (really rude);
  • Taking a call while on public transport (and then boring everyone with half a conversation) (the rudest);
  • Going through someone else’s phone (creeper);
  • Spying on someone’s location via mobile (super creeper).

I suppose you can tell where I fall when it comes to the above. Not that it’s not occasionally important to take a call or check a message and respond at an inopportune time, but for me, that’s what I hope is theexception, not the rule. Not surprisingly, the movie theater is overwhelmingly voted as the most annoying place to find someone using their smartphone inappropriately, while other public areas such as religious institutions, restaurants, and public bathrooms also feature high on the irritation scale. For good reason.

always connected 3

And the most embarrassing things that can happen with a mobile? That seems to revolve around phones ringing in quiet places or accidentally making a call to someone without realizing (the classic “butt-dial” comes to mind). A whopping two percent of respondents admitted to being embarrassed that they had been caught taking a selfie in public—who knew anyone was embarrassed by that these days? One ting that’s definitely clear, this analysis reinforces the all-pervading effect that mobile devices are having on modern life.

The Future for Mobile

The study also took a look at respondents’ views on future developments for mobile. Although, as I mentioned above, the data is based around the use of banking apps, the responses give an indication of the way people—in particular the younger generations—see their mobile devices playing an increasingly important role in their lives.

  • Almost eight in 10 respondents said they would be comfortable using security features such as fingerprint, retinal, face, or voice recognition to gain access to their banking app.
  • More than half (56 percent) would consider using a banking app to make person-to-person payments.
  • More than a third would, or already had, used their mobile to make a purchase at a checkout.
  • Overall four in 10 would consider buying, or already owned, wearable technology. This jumps to almost half (48 percent) for older Millennials and 47 percent for Gen X (35-49).

I’m totally on board with all of the above, and my bank can’t adopt Apple Pay quickly enough. I already only carry around my phone and my debit card a large percentage of the time, and I can’t wait until I just have to have my phone in hand to do (or buy) whatever I need. Two big things stand out for me in this report—neither of which should really be news. First, the smartphone is fast becoming an integral part of our everyday lives, making it imperative that we adapt, especially when it comes to our marketing and communication initiatives. Secondly, this is a million times more true if your target audience is Millennials, or those possessed of a Millennial mindset.

What about you? I’m guessing there’s nothing in this trend report that comes as a surprise. If you’re a marketer, where are you with regard to embracing mobility? What key challenges have you faced, or do you face? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Also, what’s the most annoying thing that you think people do with their mobile devices? This is really a test to see if anyone actually reads to the end. For me, texting at the dinner table is a big hot button. And loud phone talkers in public places.

You can find out more about this report at Bank of America Trends in Consumer Mobility Report and find the main points summarized in this infographic.

All graphics are from the Bank of America report.

Other resources on this topic: 

How Behavior [and Intuitive Apps] Are Driving Mobile Search
Mobile Marketing Automation: A Must for Businesses and MSPs
The 5 D’s (Transformational Trends) of Email and Marketing

This post was brought to you by IBM for MSPs and opinions are my own. To read more on this topic, visit IBM’s PivotPoint. Dedicated to providing valuable insight from industry thought leaders, PivotPoint offers expertise to help you develop, differentiate and scale your business.

photo credit: Device Love via photopin (license)

This article was originally seen on V3Broadsuite.

Shelly Kramer is a Principal Analyst and Founding Partner at Futurum Research. A serial entrepreneur with a technology centric focus, she has worked alongside some of the world’s largest brands to embrace disruption and spur innovation, understand and address the realities of the connected customer, and help navigate the process of digital transformation. She brings 20 years' experience as a brand strategist to her work at Futurum, and has deep experience helping global companies with marketing challenges, GTM strategies, messaging development, and driving strategy and digital transformation for B2B brands across multiple verticals. Shelly's coverage areas include Collaboration/CX/SaaS, platforms, ESG, and Cybersecurity, as well as topics and trends related to the Future of Work, the transformation of the workplace and how people and technology are driving that transformation. A transplanted New Yorker, she has learned to love life in the Midwest, and has firsthand experience that some of the most innovative minds and most successful companies in the world also happen to live in “flyover country.”


  1. Mobile platforms and applications are indeed on the rise and a lot of businesses have realized that having a mobile app for their product/brand or service can be extremely rewarding. I’d like to dwell a bit on customer support. I agree that having support built within the app can more convenient for both the developer and the app users. Both parties can interact without having to leave the app and issues can be resolved quickly. We have recently launched a support desk ( that performs these exact functions. The developers and companies that have integrated this solution to their apps have confirmed that they have witnessed a happier and more loyal app user base. Great post!

  2. Pingback: Building a Mobile Work Culture for a Mobile Workforce - Crowdstaffing

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