Americans Not Taking Advantage of New Smart Phone Capabilities Younger adults and men are most comfortable with new functions

NEW YORK, March 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Smart phones can perform countless functions, but how many people take advantage of the time-saving and paper-saving capabilities that are offered?  According to a recent Harris Poll, very few are taking advantage.  Smart phones today can store information to make our lives more efficient – information that can be scanned to make a purchase, or displayed as a ticket for admission, allowing us freedom from printed confirmations or carrying bulky wallets.  However, when asked about a list of items that one could scan their mobile or smart phone for, only small minorities report having done so in each case.

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These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,056 adults surveyed online between February 6 and 13, 2012 by Harris Interactive.

Only 5% of Americans say that they have scanned their phone for admission to a movie or as an airline ticket, and fewer say they have done so to pay for clothing or electronics (3%), admission to a concert, live theater or performance (3%), to pay for a convenience item such as coffee (3%) or something else (7%). Two in five say they have never scanned their mobile or smart phone for any reason (40%) and slightly more say they do not have a mobile or smart phone with this capability (45%). Although Echo Boomers, aged 18-35, are most likely to have scanned their phone for all of the items listed, even they are not doing this at remarkable rates (between 5% and 10% for each item).

While few may be actively engaging with these functions, there is also a divide on the levels of comfort associated with these behaviors as well. Just under half of  Americans (47%) say they are comfortable using a mobile scan as an admission ticket to movies, concerts or live theater performances, while 38% are not comfortable with it — with 25% not at all comfortable; 15% are not sure. About the same number of people are comfortable (41%) and not comfortable (43%) using a mobile scan as an airline, train or other transportation ticket; 15% are again, not sure. 

Slightly fewer are comfortable using a mobile app that would allow them to make purchases at a retailer or company as they would with a gift card (39%) while 47% are not comfortable with this and 14% are not sure. The only item where a majority opinion is seen, is with using a mobile app that would store credit card information, allowing people to make purchases at a retailer or company as they would with a credit card; 63% are not comfortable with this with over two in five (45%) not at all comfortable. Only one quarter (24%) of Americans are comfortable with this, and 13% are not sure.

Looking at those who are comfortable with the various items, several noticeable trends emerge:

  • There is comfort in youth – younger adults are more comfortable than those older with each item listed;
  • Men are more comfortable with each item than are women; and,
  • Those who have scanned their smart phone for any one of a number of reasons are more comfortable with each capability than are those who have never scanned their phone, or do not have a phone with that technology.

This month, the United States celebrates the 150th anniversary of its paper money.  With that in mind, the Harris Poll sought to learn when, if ever, people think that information stored on mobile phones will eclipse cash payments for a majority of purchases.  While very few people think that will happen within the next year (3%), over one in ten think it will happen in 1 to less than 3 years (13%) and 18% think it will happen between 3 and 5 years.  One in five (21%) say it will happen in 5 to less than 10 years and 15% say it will happen in 10 years or more; 30% say it will never happen.  There are only slight differences in opinion by age, although women think that this will happen in less than 3 years significantly more than men do (20% versus 13%).  Men, on the other hand, are more likely to say it will happen in 10 years or more (17% versus 12%).

So What?

It seems at the moment technology capabilities outpace changing behavior—there are many new functions available that most people either haven't tried or admit to being uncomfortable with.  This presents an interesting conundrum—it seems people like having the latest in technology, as the wait lists and lines for newly released products indicate, yet beyond early adopters, many people don't take advantage of the new functions available to them.  As some of this technology becomes more commonplace, it will be interesting to see how Americans begin to incorporate it into their lives.

TABLE 1
SCANNED MOBILE PHONE FOR VARIOUS ITEMS
"Please say which of the following, if any, you have ever scanned your mobile or smart phone for."

Base: All Adults

 

Total

Generation

Echo
Boomers
(18-35)

Gen X
(36-47)

Baby
Boomers
(48-66)

Matures
(67+)

%

%

%

%

%

Admission to a movie

5

10

5

2

1

As an airline ticket

5

9

5

1

-

To pay for a purchase such as clothing or electronics

3

7

1

1

*

Admission to a concert, live theater or performance

3

5

3

1

*

To pay for a convenience item, such as coffee

3

6

2

1

-

Something else

7

8

10

5

2

I have never scanned my mobile or smart phone for any reason

40

41

40

43

35

I do not have a mobile or smart phone with this capability

45

35

42

48

62

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding; * indicates less than .05%.

 

TABLE 2A
COMFORT WITH MOBILE PHONE CAPABILITIES
"Please say how comfortable you are, if at all, with each of the following."

Base: All Adults

 

Comfortable (NET)

Very comfortable

Somewhat comfortable

Not comfortable (NET)

Not very comfortable

Not at all comfortable

Not at all sure

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Using a mobile scan as an admission ticket to movies, concerts or live theater performances

47

20

27

38

13

25

15

Using a mobile scan as an airline, train or other transportation ticket

41

18

24

43

15

28

15

Using a mobile app that allows you to make purchases at a retailer or company like you would use a gift card

39

15

24

47

17

30

14

Using a mobile app that would store your credit card information and allow you to make purchases at a retailer or company like you would with a credit card

24

9

15

63

18

45

13

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding.

 

TABLE 2B
COMFORT WITH MOBILE PHONE CAPABILITIES - DETAIL
"Please say how comfortable you are, if at all, with each of the following."
Summary of those saying "very comfortable" or "somewhat comfortable"

Base: All Adults

 

Total

Generation

Gender

Has scanned phone

Echo Boomers (18-35)

Gen X (36-47)

Baby Boomers (48-66)

Matures (67+)

Male

Female

Has

Has not

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Using a mobile scan as an admission ticket to movies, concerts or live theater performances

47

59

52

42

24

51

43

78

41

Using a mobile scan as an airline, train or other transportation ticket

41

52

43

38

23

48

35

69

36

Using a mobile app that allows you to make purchases at a retailer or company like you would use a gift card

39

48

42

35

24

42

36

64

34

Using a mobile app that would store your credit card information and allow you to make purchases at a retailer or company like you would with a credit card

24

32

27

17

15

29

19

46

20

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding.

 

TABLE 3
PREDICTION OF TECHNOLOGY REPLACING CASH PAYMENTS
"Thinking ahead, please say when, if ever, you think information stored on mobile phones will replace cash payments for a majority of purchases."

Base: All Adults

 

Total

Generation

Gender

Echo
Boomers
(18-35)

Gen X
(36-47)

Baby
Boomers
(48-66)

Matures
(67+)

Male

Female

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Within the next year

3

5

3

2

3

3

3

1 year to less than 3 years

13

14

14

14

11

10

17

3 years to less than 5 years

18

18

17

18

20

19

17

5 years to less than 10 years

21

22

18

20

22

20

21

10 years or more

15

12

15

17

14

17

12

Never

30

29

33

30

31

30

31

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding.

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between February 6 and 13, 2012 among 2,056 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

J41216
Q830, 835, 840

The Harris Poll® #25, March 7, 2012
By Samantha Braverman, Sr. Project Researcher, Harris Interactive

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American and European offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

Press Contact:

Corporate Communications
Harris Interactive
212-539-9600
press@harrisinteractive.com

SOURCE Harris Interactive



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