Most people would say that the iPhone shook the smartphone market when it was introduced in 2007. With its large colored touch screen, it revolutionized how people would go on interacting with their phones. Today, seven years later, large touch screens have become an industry standard for smartphones. People can now more or less control their whole lives with their phones. Everything from taking care of bank errands to staying in touch with friends and relatives is possible using your phone.
Strange enough, the field of market research appears to have overlooked the rapid growth of smartphone usage. Instead, most companies still rely on outdated technology and techniques to create surveys and connect with respondents. It seems natural that more market research efforts would be put into mobile ready surveys to reach as many respondents as possible.
How fast is the smartphone market really growing? And how big is the survey market in terms of online and mobile surveying? We’re getting down with the numbers in this post to find out.
Smartphones are Here to Stay
There’s no denying that the smartphone market is growing. According to IDC, last year saw a 23.8% increase in global smartphone sales. It’s expected that the global smartphone market will continue growing by 12.7% in average per year until 2018. Especially emerging markets are seeing a rising trend in smartphone usage. This means that smartphones soon will be used more or less all around the world.
The Survey Market is a $39 Billion Industry
According to an industry report made by ESOMAR in 2013, the global survey market was in 2012 valued to $39 billion. This market estimation includes all types of market research, such as telephone polls, online surveys, and questionnaires. Out of this the online based survey market alone stands for $11.7 billion of the value. Online based surveys can be accessed through people’s smartphones, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are mobile ready. In many cases the smartphone screens aren’t supported, which means that the surveys can’t be viewed on the devices. So how many surveys are really developed with mobile devices in mind? Well, according to Forrester Research just 17% of the market researchers have started using surveys that are mobile ready.
Going Mobile When Needed
Looking at the numbers, it can be concluded that the majority of the survey market hasn’t yet made the transition to online surveys, let alone mobile ready surveys. What effect does this have? Well, this leads to falling response rates. Not reaching out to people via their smartphones means that fewer can take the surveys. As Forrester analyst Roxana Strohmenger writes: “Consumers have already decided for us: If you want to connect with them, mobile is the way … For every new research study you commence moving forward, think about how mobile can play a role.”. So, if you want people to take your survey, you have to make sure that it’s mobile ready.
But what does it mean to have a survey that’s mobile ready? Well, that depends on who you ask. In our opinion, it’s really a matter of two things:
- The survey design should be responsive. No matter the size of the mobile screen the survey should fit it.
- The survey should be easy to take. It shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes for someone to complete it.
Then there’s a third thing that isn’t necessarily required for a mobile ready survey, but which we think is equally important. And that is that the survey should be good-looking. Nothing is more off-putting than a dull, colorless survey. Beautiful surveys will definitely increase the response rates.
Based on the numbers it shouldn’t be too hard to say that a large part of the survey market needs to adapt to mobile ready surveys. If market researchers want to reach as many respondents as possible they should definitely start targeting their smartphones.