The Whole Story - Mobile Use While Socializing

In September, we shared a USA TouchPoints analysis in this column that examined the media choices of Drinkers aged 21-34 when socializing in a Bar or Restaurant versus when socializing with others in someone else’s home.

10-23Among the best-performing media devices was the mobile phone, and here we look at exactly how the mobile is used in the Bar/Restaurant environment by those same people.

When in social locations such as bars, it seems that whenever a lull in conversation occurs or when someone is momentarily left alone, people turn to their cell phones.  Whether texting others, checking emails or the time, using an app, the intermittent but frequent attention we pay to our phones when out clearly illustrates the potential for the mobile phone as a medium at point of purchase.

Across the general population throughout the week, talk is still the dominant mode of mobile phone use.  However, in this (noisy) setting and among this particular demographic, texting is by far the most commonly used function of the phone. (71%).  Whether using this as a means of extending the evening’s social interaction virtually with others or to arrange activities later in the evening, texting rules in this setting.

In a distant second place with a weekly Reach of 45%, is talking. It is worth noting that collectively texting and talking are not only the most basic and longstanding forms of telephonic communication but they also remain the most readily affordable for many users where the cost of data plans is an issue.

The use of the Internet and apps via the phone delivers 36% Reach in third place and could potentially represent a degree of social activity -- people will often discuss apps they have downloaded and show them to friends.  However, much of this is still likely to be solitary use of the medium.

There is then a sharp drop in Reach for the remaining three functions included in the analysis: Email (8%). Watching Video (4% and Gaming (4%) suggesting that these are the functions most at odds with the nature of socializing in a bar.  Which is probably healthy.

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