Myth #33: Mobile users are distracted
When thinking of mobile users, many have a stereotypical image of people on the go, people with the attention span of a goat and suffering from Mobile User Attention Deficit Disorder.
But are mobile users distracted? Of course they are. But we are just as much distracted when sitting in front of our computers, watching TV or driving a car. Distractions are everywhere, it’s not a mobile-only phenomenon.
First of all, mobile is not on-the-go
- Google’s multi-screen study found that 60% of smartphone usage takes place at home. In comparison, computers are used 69% and tablets 79% of the time at home.
- InsightsNow found that 68% of mobile usage (excluding calls, text and email) is at home.
- In their search study, Google also found that 77% of mobile searches take place at home or at work (where you quite likely have a desktop or notebook available to you, too).
- Fun fact: mobile is most definitely in-the-bathroom.
- So instead of picturing mobile users as people running to catch the bus with their smartphones in their hand, we should imagine people mostly at home or work ‒ where we spend most of our time ‒, using their phones to get various things done because it’s the nearest device in reach.
Distractions are everywhere, not only on mobile
- Mobile users can receive incoming calls and text messages at any time ‒ but that’s given even when we sit in front of our notebook or TV.
- Computer users and TV watchers are just as much distracted: a Google study showed that 67% of the time we use a PC, we simultaneously use another device (75% for tablets, 77% for TV). In comparison, 57% of the time when using smartphones are we using another device.
- Drivers are also distracted. 86% of us eat or drink, 41% of us meddle with the GPS, 14% even apply make-up, according to Most U.S. Drivers Engage in ‘Distracting’ Behaviours: Poll (see also Crash Test: 5 Things People Do While Driving). Oh, and kids distract us more than our phones.
- Students are distracted too: in a study, Larry Rosen showed that students “were only able to focus and stay on task for an average of three minutes at a time and nearly all of their distractions came from technology.”
- And the list goes on. Distractions are everywhere.
Mobile engagement is now higher than desktop
- We now spend more time online on our mobile than on desktop – US smartphone engagement has overtaken desktop: stats and Mobile apps overtake PC Internet usage in U.S.
- A comScore study shows that for many activities, we use our mobile almost exclusively now. Radio (96% mobile now), photos (96%), maps (90%), instant messaging (90%) are among the many categories to see a huge shift to mobile.
- Mobile-only usage is on a steady rise. 30% of Facebook’s active users, for example, access Facebook exclusively from their phones.