May 11, 2012

Three-quarters of smartphone owners use location-based services

A new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project finds that 74% of smartphone owners use their phone to get real-time location-based information, and 18% use a geosocial service to “check in” to certain locations or share their location with friends.

“We’ve watched mobile phones become increasingly entwined in people’s everyday activities, and location-based services are an important part of that,” Pew Internet Research Specialist and report author Kathryn Zickuhr said.

Over the past year, smartphone ownership among American adults has risen from 35% of adults in 2011 to 46% in 2012. This means that the overall proportion of U.S. adults who get location-based information has almost doubled over that time period, from 23% in May 2011 to 41% in February 2012. The percentage of adults who use geosocial services like Foursquare has likewise risen from 4% in 2011 to 10% in 2012.

“Smartphones’ geolocation abilities are clearly popular with their users, who can get the information they want exactly when and where they want it,” Zickuhr said. “It’s fascinating to watch how quickly smartphones owners are incorporating this type of real-time, location-specific information in their lives.”