Dawn Of The Smombies

Heard the one about the small city in Germany installing traffic lights on the ground so pedestrians don’t have to look up from their smartphones?

Around the world, it’s one a growing number of responses to “Smombies": people who are so immersed in their smartphones that they essentially become brain-dead to their physical surroundings.

Of course Americans are hardly immune this plague. Look around any public space from San Francisco to New York City, and you'll see Smombies everywhere.



Indeed, “Smartphone penetration is nearly as high as TV set and radio ownership, and consumers carry their phones everywhere,” Glenn Enoch, SVP of Audience Insights at Nielsen, said in a recent report.

In fact, according to Nielsen’s fourth-quarter 2015 Comparable Metrics Report, across all adult demographic groups, smartphones are the most-used platform, with adults 18 and over using their devices nearly every day in the week (5.8 times per week), followed by television (5.5 times per week).

Yet, as you might expect, turning consumers into mindless zombies isn’t the least bit troubling to marketers.

On the contrary, “Smartphones provide advertisers and marketers with the opportunity to reach consumers with information throughout the day,” according to Enoch.

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