Smartphone Samurai

Smartphone or die.

That's the attitude of a growing number of moms about the importance of smartphones to their daily lives.

According to recent research by BabyCenter, moms' adoption of smartphones has increased 64% over the past two years, and 51% of moms report that they are "addicted" to smartphones. The survey looked at 5,000 moms across the U.S.:

  • More than half said they bought a smartphone "as a direct result of becoming a mom."
  • Moms are 40% more likely than average to use their smartphones for social networking.
  • The majority of moms sleep with their smartphones next to their beds and more than half check their phones first thing in the morning.

Research on smartphones and shopping should be of particular interest to both manufacturers and retailers:

  • 68% of the Baby Center moms use their smartphones to shop and 62% report that they use shopping apps to compare prices and do research.

A separate survey of a much more limited group of moms (239, recruited by banner ads) and conducted by mobile ad firm Greystripe showed that:

  • The most frequent smartphone use when shopping was to locate the nearest store (about 45%).
  • The next most common usage: to compare prices.

While a smartphone is essential for moms' social networking and shopping, its role in parenting is equally as significant.

The Baby Center report noted that after a woman becomes a mom, the most important smartphone features are, in order, the camera, the video, then apps. According to an article in the Boston Globe, the app market will continue to boom. "There are already more than 300,000 apps.... The number of downloads is expected to hit 76.9 billion worldwide in 2014."

We talked with moms about their use of apps.

"I have way too many apps," commented Kris Cain, a technology expert and the voice behind the blog Little Tech Girl. "I use my phone for several different things, but I most often use it for email, Facebook, Twitter, banking, driving directions, and occasionally ... shopping. I do have quite a few games for my kid, such as Angry Birds, Zombie Farm, and Uno."

Fifty-two percent of the Baby Center moms said they had 10 or more apps on their phone and one-quarter of them were for their kids. iPads and smart phones have quickly become must-have toys for children, including toddlers. The February issue of Parents magazine points out that two-thirds of kids ages 4-7 have already used an iPhone or an iPod Touch.

"My kids are very techy," added Kain. "They love to play games on my iPhone. My girls who are 8 actually inherited my old iPhones, so they don't have to beg for mine so much anymore."

Want to reach moms? Give them a ring -- or an app -- on their smartphones.

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