Location, Location, Location

According to Pew Research, as explored in the new eMarketer report, “Location Intelligence, H1 2016…”, nine in 10 US smartphone owners use location services on their phone. Still, there is significant room for growth, says the report. eMarketer estimates the number of smartphone users will increase by 8.7% in 2016, and the number of those who use location-based services is expected to rise at a near-equal pace.

US Smartphone Owners Using Location Based Services (Get directions, information, etc. related to location; % of Respondents)







Source: Pew Research, April 2016 (January 2016)

67% of the adult smartphone users polled said they used Pandora, Spotify or a similar music streaming service on their smartphone. 47% used video chat apps and one-third said they watched movies or TV programs on their phone via a paid subscription service like Netflix or Hulu Plus. 90% of respondents said they used their phone to get directions, recommendations or other information related to their location.

An estimate based on Pew’s finding and eMarketer’s 2015 smartphone user estimates that 90% equates to 153 million. This group, like smartphone users as a whole, are likely to rely on apps, many of which request access to the devices’ location services. eMarketer estimates 96% of US smartphone users will regularly use apps on their phone in 2016, says the report.

Not all apps are created equal when it comes to obtaining permission to track a user’s location, says the report. Those apps that provide a compelling reason for the user to share their location (content, services and features that use location data to provide real value to a consumer)mare the most likely to secure opt-ins from a majority share of their user base. A July 2015 survey conducted by Research Now on behalf of Skyhook Wireless found that 65% of US mobile app users shared their location with weather apps. Far fewer shared such information with apps in other categories.

Leading Apps By Smartphone Users For Location Services (% of Respondents)

App categories

% of Respondents



Social networking




Photo & video




Source: Skyhook Wireless/ResearchNow, April 2016 (November 2015)

Granted, the value exchange for sharing location with a weather app is obvious to the user, with not much explanation or persuasion needed. That’s not the case with apps in other categories, however. Often location-based content, services or features are tangential to the core value proposition of the app, as is the case with some traditional social networking apps. Only 38% of those polled in the study said they shared their location with social networking apps.

For additional information from eMarketer, please visit here.



Next story loading loading..