Why Mobile Research is Here to Stay

Author Bio

Author Bio

Roxie Strohmenger from Forrester presented a very compelling case about why mobile research is here to stay for the long haul. We now live in a world filled with technology-powered tools and consumers who want things better, cheaper, and faster. Companies no longer own the brand... consumers do. This era of disruption has been dubbed the Age of the Customer by Forrester. 

The mobile phone is the primary catalyst of this new era. It empowers consumers to have power over the brand. Mobile adoption is a global phenomenon: 27% have smartphones; by 2017, it will be 50%. PC dominance is waning; global PC shipments have been surpassed by mobile phone shipments. The majority of time spent consuming digital media is through a mobile device. Consumers are addicted to their mobile phones; there’s even a term that has been coined for the fear of being out of contact with your mobile phone: nomophobia!

Mobile is great for consumers, but it also empowers companies to capture rich emotional/behavioral insights and uncover connections not obvious with traditional market research.  Mobile allows researchers to:

  • capture real-time insights
  • get more personal with respondents than they could on a shared PC
  • increase the validity of data, e.g., are respondents where they say they are
  • minimize pesky recall issues because of freshness of experience and immediacy of the feedback; they can get feedback in the heat of the moment
  • easily combine the five Ws, whereas traditional market research zooms in on one thing
  • gain access to hard-to-reach sample
  • incorporate emotions into their understanding of consumers without taxing consumers


While mobile has many benefits, there are also a few challenges, including:

  • costs can hamper a respondent's willingness, particularly in emerging markets where data plans are still expensive
  • security and privacy are problematic; it’s important to get permission to use information and pictures
  • limited screen and screen time forces us to ask the right questions, e.g., good questions that will be actionable and change behavior
  • difficulty in giving surveys much-needed makeover; mobile forces us to have good survey habits (which is not a bad thing)

Mobile is definitely here to stay. It has actually created a new breed of market researchers: the consumer!