Smartphones take centre stage for business, leisure

New research shows users are more willing to hand over information for discounts


Smartphones are becoming increasingly important for business and leisure a new survey has found, confirming trends that have been building in recent years.

Mobile devices are, as expected, more popular among younger age groups, and a significant number of people would be willing to give companies access to data in return for discounts on health or car insurance.

The survey, which was conducted by Amárach Research for Three Ireland, said that although people are still using traditional methods to communicate with businesses, government services and in their personal lives, smartphones were becoming a more popular way to communicate.

The trend was more obvious among younger age groups. Although laptops are still the device of choice for online shopping, at 39 per cent, smartphones are closing in, with a third of people opting for mobile shopping. That figure changed for younger shoppers, with almost half of those in the 16-24 age group, 25-34 year old group and 35-44 year old category saying they opt for mobile first.

In general, desktops have dropped in popularity, with only 17 per cent of respondents saying they used them for online shopping, while tablets came in at 10 per cent.

The smartphone has also started to creep into areas such as making restaurant reservations, with 65 per cent of people still phoning to book a table, and 35 per cent making the reservation online. In Dublin, that figure was 53 per cent, with Connacht and Ulster the lowest for online reservations at 23 per cent.

Companies can also benefit from the increasing use of smartphones, with more than half of respondents to the survey saying they use their phones to hunt down deals, and almost 30 per cent using their phones to leave feedback for hotels or restaurants online. Fifteen per cent used their phone to donate to charity.

Meanwhile, more than half of respondents said they would like to have a service that alerted them when items they buy at the supermarket are on special offer, while almost half would allow insurance companies to use data from an in-vehicle telemetric device to monitor driving patterns if it meant they would adjust their insurance costs.

Some 57 per cent would like the opportunity to have instant video consultations with GPs for a reduced fee, while 39 per cent said they would allow their health insurance company use their smartphone data to reward healthier lifestyles.

Despite concerns in other surveys that always-on email means a poorer work-life balance, the survey found almost 40 per cent said remote working through their smartphones led to a more flexible work-life balance.

The survey questioned 1,000 people throughout the Republic of Ireland.