New Research Finds Reliance on Smartphones Driving Changes in Consumers’ Purchase Habits

A new study released today by ExactTarget finds that more than half of U.S. consumers who’ve made at least one purchase on their smartphone have done so based on a marketing message delivered via mobile email.

“With more than 89 percent of U.S. online consumers owning a cell phone and 40 percent owning a smartphone, this is a watershed moment for marketers”

Featured in Mobile Dependence Day, the latest in ExactTarget’s Subscribers, Fans and Followers research series, the finding is one of many new insights into how consumers are shopping, making purchases and becoming more dependent on emails, text alerts and mobile coupons delivered to their smartphones every day.

“With more than 89 percent of U.S. online consumers owning a cell phone and 40 percent owning a smartphone, this is a watershed moment for marketers,” said Jeff Rohrs, vice president, ExactTarget’s Marketing Research and Education Group. “Rapid smartphone adoption is transforming how consumers interact with brands and connect to the world.”

While calling, texting and emailing remain the most frequent daily activities for smartphone users, the study found consumers are increasingly using their smartphones for more than the basics.

Key findings of the research include:

  • More than two-thirds of people would choose to keep their smartphone over an iPad or similar tablet computer (69%) or a game system such as Playstation or Wii (72%)
  • More than a third would give up their laptop computer (40%) or microwave (34%) to stay connected with their smartphone
  • 16 percent of smartphone owners have completed at least one purchase as a direct result of a marketing message they received on their smartphone
  • Of those, 55 percent have completed a purchase directly on their smartphone, 43 percent have completed a purchase on their computer, and 35 percent report purchasing in-store
  • 35 percent of smartphone users check Facebook several times a day on their smartphone
  • 34 percent of people have checked a bank account balance on their smartphone
  • 28 percent of smartphone owners have used their phone at least once to check in using location-based services like Foursquare or Facebook Places
  • 24 percent have scanned a QR code or barcode on their smartphone

“A majority of smartphone owners are now comfortable making purchases with their smartphones,” said Tim Kopp, ExactTarget’s chief marketing officer. “However, as our Mobile Dependence Day report makes clear, smartphone messaging is driving purchases across all channels—online and off. Marketers must, therefore, look to optimize their messaging in ways that recognize the consumer’s mobility and control.”

Mobile Dependence Day is the ninth research brief in ExactTarget’s Subscribers, Fans & Followers research series. The series provides marketers exclusive insight into how U.S. consumers interact with brands online based on a series of focus groups, interviews and surveys conducted in May and June 2011. For more information about the study and to access the Subscribers, Fans & Followers data, visit

About ExactTarget

ExactTarget is a leading global provider of on-demand email marketing and interactive marketing solutions. The company’s Interactive Marketing Hub TM technology provides organizations a single solution to connect with customers via email, integrated text messaging, landing pages and social media. Supported by collaborative global services teams, ExactTarget’s technology integrates with more sales and marketing information systems than any other in the industry, including, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Omniture and Webtrends among many others. ExactTarget powers permission-based multichannel communications for thousands of organizations around the world including, Best Buy, Aurora Fashions, Papa John’s,, Gannett Co., Inc., The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, The Home Depot and Wellpoint, Inc. For more information, visit or call 1-866-EMAILET.