Older Generations Warming Up To Mobile Local Search

Some 47% of consumers searched for local restaurants on a mobile device in the past 30 days, followed by 44% for pizza and 38% for retail stores, per a survey from the Local Search Association (LSA) and Thrive Analytics.

The study, "Local Mobile Trends," fielded in January 2014, analyzes the search trends of 1,058 smartphone users. The results reveal that lawyers, pet care services, banks and insurance were among the highest searched-for categories among the Gen Y generation defined as consumers ages 18 to 29. Window supply services, wholesalers, lawn-care services, retirement communities, plumbers and nursing homes were among the top categories for Gen X consumers ages 30 to 43.

Older generations would benefit from voice search. Tap on the microphone -- that's all it takes. The LSA study does not delve into voice search queries, but I'm putting a call out there to all analyst and data firms to analyze voice search queries on mobile devices, especially smartphones. I bet we will see an increase in searches and click-through rates to brand and retail Web sites. Marketers that are not capitalizing on voice search are making a huge mistake.

The LSA study notes that most respondents search for places where they can find free information about local companies. In fact, 65% said free information remains the most important attribute when selecting an information source to search for a local business; followed by trust at 59%; provides information quickly at 58%; provides relevant at 54%; provides the correct amount of information at 44%; offers the ability to get more detailed information at 41%; and advertising free at 41%.

When asked about the likelihood to consult information from specific sources, 61% of survey participants say they would use search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing; followed by 35%, company Web site; 27%, print Yellow pages; 27%, Internet Yellow pages; 25%, mobile search; 22%, ratings and review sites like Yelp; and 20%, social media.

About 56% of survey respondents said they own an Android smartphone; followed by 33% who own an iPhone and 5% who use the Windows platform. Some 65% said they own at least one tablet.

No surprise here. Gen Y and Gen X consumers use their mobile device more often than older generations when looking for search information. Marketers might find it surprising that 63% of older boomers and seniors age 54 and older said they use a smartphone more often when looking online for local information about shopping, services, and restaurants, but 40% said they tend to be at home when searching for information.

Some 26% of survey participants age 54 and older said they look for that information while out and about, followed by 22% who search while in the car, and 10% who search while at work. Gen Y tend to use smartphones most often at home, at 47%; followed by other, 37%; in the car, 9%; and at work, 7%.

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