Singles, married people have different preferred mobile device, new study finds

Brand advertisers looking to reach single people and married couples by advertising on mobile devices may want to consider targeting specific technology depending on marital status, as a recent survey found that married couples were more likely to own tablets while single people like smartphones.

Posted on Dec 3, 2012 by YuMe

Brand advertisers looking to reach single people and married couples by advertising on mobile devices may want to consider targeting specific technology depending on marital status, as a recent survey found that married couples were more likely to own tablets while single people like smartphones.

The study, conducted by Harris Interactive in August, found that of the more than 2,000 U.S. adults surveyed, 49 percent of singles said they owned a smartphone while 43 percent of married people owned one. In contrast, 45 percent of married people and 36 percent of singles polled said they owned a tablet.

According to one executive at The Search Agency, the online marketing firm that commissioned the report, married people have more disposable income than single individuals, and are also more likely to value larger screen sizes for watching content with their spouse. For single folks, the smaller screen size and portability of a smartphone may make that device more appealing.

"Married people are often older, have more disposable income and can more easily justify superfluous pieces of technology, such as tablets," Mike Solomon, The Search Agency's vice president of marketing strategy, said in a statement. "At the same time, baby boomers are often more tech-literate than their slightly younger counterparts – likely because their [M]illennial children are pushing them to use new tools and devices."

Increasing mobile device usage across all breakdowns
While the study showed that different people have slight variance in regard to their preferred mobile device, Americans of all ages are increasingly using tablets and smartphones to accomplish a variety of tasks. This is especially true in regard to multi-screen content viewership.

The study found that 69 percent of all tablet owners – including 76 percent of single people and 63 percent of married tablet users – will use their mobile device to look up information about a product seen on television. In comparison, 78 percent of tablet owners will turn to a desktop or laptop device in conjunction with TV viewing.

While a majority of tablet owners across all age ranges use the device to find out more about a product seen on television, younger people were found to be more likely to turn to a tablet. Seventy-one percent of those between 18 and 34 and 81 percent of people between 35 and 44 use a tablet while viewing television. In comparison, 54 percent of tablet users between 45 and 54 and 56 percent of those polled that are 55 and over reported doing the same thing.

Smartphone owners were also found to be engaging in multi-screen entertainment. The survey found that 59 percent of all smartphone owners use the mobile device in close proximity to a computer. That percentage rises for younger smartphone users, as 74 percent of those between 18 and 34 use a smartphone when close to a PC.

Ideal times for mobile device usage
According to the report, the time of day affects how mobile device owners of different age ranges use their smartphone or tablet. For example, while 51 percent of all smartphone owners use the device to make online purchases during the day, older people were found to be more likely than Millennials to use a smartphone to shop at night. In addition, 52 percent of Millennials and 48 percent of smartphone users between 35 and 44 access a social media site during the day from their device.

"So much of what we see from the study, and the marketplace in general, is how time of day and other situational factors impact behavior," Solomon said. Everything from age to proximity to your television or other devices impacts how and when you reach for your computer or mobile device to shop, search or get social." He added, "[i]t's important that advertisers consider how to match content and experiences with the time of day and specific device in order to best engage users."