On-The-Go Search Primary Mobile Activity

The 15miles/Neustar Localeze Sixth Annual Local Search Study finds that consumers’ search behavior continues to change with the increased adoption of mobile devices. And that their use of these devices, expectations for content, and subsequent actions vary in meaningful ways.

The demand for information “on the go” is higher than ever. Social, local and mobile behavior that was revolutionary just one year ago is now embedded in our culture, says the report. As the number of visitors to sites via mobile devices continues to grow, local search plays an even more significant role. The report contains key findings that allow businesses of all types to understand and leverage the local search market.

Consumers’ number one activity on mobile devices is search. The study revealed that over half of all mobile browser users access search content through their browser. In the past ten months, the total number of visitors to search sites via mobile devices has jumped by more than 26%, with local searches playing a particularly important role: nearly 86 million people now seek local business information on their mobile phone in the U.S. alone.

The study indicated that successful local business searches conducted via mobile phones were more likely to end with an in-store visit than PC/laptop and tablet searches. Local business searchers who used a mobile phone or tablet were also more likely to make a purchase as a result of their search.

The key findings show that as the mobile market continues to grow, businesses of all types need to fundamentally rethink how they engage with local customers. Consumers now expect accurate, easy-to-absorb information on local businesses on a variety of computing platforms.

Key Findings

1. The study demonstrates that the total number of U.S. searchers on mobile phones grew steadily last year, from 90.1 million mobile phone visitors to search/navigation sites or apps in March to 113.1 million in December, a 26% increase.

Mobile Phone Visitors to Search/Navigate Sites or Apps (millions)


Mobile Phone Searchers(MM)

August 2012










Source: 15miles/Neustar Localeze, March 2013

2. Tablets also grew as a source for online searchers, with 19% growth between April and December. 56% of all users say they use mobile phones for searching because they are on the move, and 28% need information quickly. At the same time, PC/laptop searches decreased over the past year, as has the number of local searches. Total U.S. searches on the PC dropped 6% year-over-year from 29.5 billion to 27.8 billion in December 2012. Over that same time period, local searches on the PC declined 17% and non-local searches declined 5%.

Tablet visitors to Search/Navigate Sites or Apps (Millions)

Month (2012)

Millions Of Tablet Searchers











Source: 15miles/Neustar Localeze, March 2013

3. Search behavior of PC/laptop, tablet and phone users differs.

Tablet ownership is growing at an unprecedented pace, far outpacing smartphone ownership. In only two years since the launch of the iPad, tablet owners reached 40 million, a milestone it took smartphones ten years to reach

While the frequency of local business searches on mobile phones remains constant, those with tablets use the device for local search less frequently than last year. Local search use dropped from 64% to 48% in 2012. In addition, PC/Laptops are primarily used in the beginning stages of a local business search. In comparison, mobile phones and tablets are more likely to be used in the middle or at the end of the process.

Mobile phone, tablet and PC/laptop users all rated accuracy of information as more important than depth of content. Mobile phone users have become more demanding of accuracy over time, while becoming less demanding of depth of content. Tablet and PC/laptop users rate depth of content as being slightly more important than last year.

Stage of Local Business Search When Device is Used (% of Respondents)

When Used


Mobile Phone


Throughout entire process




At the end




In the middle




In the beginning




Source: 15miles/Neustar Localeze, March 2013

4. Successful local business searches conducted via mobile phones were more likely to end with an in-store visit than PC/laptop and tablet searches. Successful mobile and tablet searches were also more likely to result in continued online searches than PC/laptop searches. Even more significantly, local business searchers who used a mobile phone or tablet were more likely to make a purchase as a result of their search. While only 59% of PC searches resulted in a purchase, 78% of mobile phone searches and 77% of tablet searches resulted in a purchase. Tablet searchers also skew toward more expensive purchases.

Made Purchase (Online, in person, over the phone)


% of Searchers Making Purchase



Mobile phone




Source: 15miles/Neustar Localeze, March 2013


Amount Spent on Purchase


Amount Spent

Device Used










Mobile phone










Source: 15miles/Neustar Localeze, March 2013

5. The two most important factors in choosing a business were location (32%) and familiarity (31%). There are clear differences in the portion of searches that are conducted with a specific business in mind. Local business searchers looking for pharmacies, doctors or financial services are more likely to have a specific business in mind. Pharmacies lead the pack with 86% of consumers looking for a specific pharmacy, while doctors and hospitals rank second with 75%. Banking and finance are not far behind (69%), followed by restaurants (65%).

Key Takeaways (according to the report):

  • Total U.S. visitors to search sites and apps grew 26% on mobile phones and 19% on tablets in 2012
  • Local search on mobile phones continues to grow with nearly 86 million accessing local business information on their mobile phone, a 63% increase since 2010.
  • Tablet users are becoming less mobile, less concerned with the ease of use of the device, and require greater depth of information
  • Mobile phone searchers are more likely than tablet users to cite maps, driving directions, and distance to the business as helpful pieces of information to be found during their search
  • Year over year, the portion of local searchers who state that PC/laptops are the primary way they access Local Search Sites have declined by 7%. They are increasingly relying on mobile applications. Primary users increased weekly searches on Local Search Sites and Social Networking Sites by 3% over the past year
  • Over the past two years, application use has grown, making it the most popular way to obtain local business information on mobile phones. Of the mobile phone searchers who say they use applications to search for local businesses, 35% use Google Maps. 92% of those who searched for local business information on social networking sites on PC/laptops, mobile phones, or tablets used Facebook

Please find 15miles/NeustarLocaleze here for additional information.



1 comment about "On-The-Go Search Primary Mobile Activity".
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  1. Davida Tretout from Go2Chic, April 2, 2013 at 1:58 p.m.

    Mobile is where it's at...literally!

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