Multi-screen consumer research: the change has already happened

It’s not ground-breaking news that multi-screen technology is changing the way we live our lives, but recent consumer research by Google has highlighted just how quickly things have changed and confirmed that multi-screen technology is now essential for organisations to consider when contemplating their communication strategy.

Google research found that 90% of our media consumption occurs across four screen devices – PC, television, tablet and smartphone – and that more and more consumers are viewing more than one screen device at a time.  Furthermore, the findings highlight that consumers are browsing the internet on more than one screen device, using their smartphone as a starting point.  For example, 65% of consumers begin their shopping online with 61% of these consumers then continuing their online shopping on a PC.

38% of our media interactions now occur on a smartphone and the need for getting information quickly and conveniently is stated as the main perk of using this screen device. 68% of UK consumers prefer using a mobile website to an app and 32% of UK consumers have used their smartphone to find a retailer’s local store or opening times. Research also discovered that 51% of 18-34 year olds have used their mobile to compare prices and read reviews whilst out shopping. With smartphone sales increasing and mobile company Everything Everywhere announcing 4G services by the end of 2012 across 16 cities in the UK, smartphone usage is set to increase dramatically over the next 12 months.

There’s also the modern phenomena of the tablet device which has seen intriguing growth statistics across a varied demographic – a 2012 growth of 134% in the over 60 category, 132% in the 0-11 category and 118% and 117% respectively in the lucrative 12-17 and 18-24 categories.  With 96% of tablet owners accessing the internet in their living rooms, it is becoming clear that consumer’s online habits are not just changing but, in fact, have changed and that in order to remain relevant brands must respond to this change quickly.

So, the research clearly indicates that consumers have already changed and appear to be waiting for some brands to catch up and deliver brand experiences that suit their behaviour.  At the very least, brands need to optimise their website to maximise both its usability and accessibility across multi-screens. Not only will this improve customer user experience, it will also improve bounce rates, sales potential and brand perception amongst consumers.

We’ve covered the mobile angle in our recent ‘Time to get mobile’ insight and are increasingly working with clients who are looking to embrace all of the great opportunities that multi-device users present them.  It’s a truly exciting time to be working in the creative industry and a make or break time for companies and brands of all shapes and sizes.

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