Location-Based Services Used by 28% of Adults

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Pew Internet has released new data about American adults who use location-based services. "We find that 28% of adults use at least one of the key location-service opportunities that exist in mobile and social media spaces and by far the most popular is using mobile phones for maps, directions, or recommendations," a spokesperson tells WebProNews. "Smartphone owners really stand out as a cohort that enjoy and use location services."

5% of cell phone owners use their phones to check in to locations using geosocial services like Foursquare or Gowalla, according to the report. 12% of smartphone owners use these services on their phones.

Interestingly, 9% of Internet users set up social media services like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn so location is automatically added to their posts.

Pew data on location-based services

“Americans are not currently all that eager to share explicitly their location on social media sites, but they are taking advantage of their phones’ geolocation capabilities in other ways,” said Kathryn Zickuhr, Pew Internet Project research specialist and co-author of the report. “Smartphone owners are using their phones to get fast access to location-relevant information on-the-go.”

Smartphone owners, younger users and "non-whites" have higher-than-average rates of using location services, Pew says, sharing the following stats:

  • 55% of smartphone owners have used a location-based information service to get directions, recommendations, or other information based on their current location.
  • 58% of smartphone owners use at least one of these services.
  • Smartphone owners ages 18-49 are more likely than those over 50 to use either geosocial or location-based services on their phones. There are no significant differences among social media users by age in regard to automatic location-tagging.
  • Hispanics are the most active in these two activities, with a quarter (25%) of Latino smartphone owners using geosocial services and almost a third (31%) of Latino social media users enabling automatic location-tagging. However, though only 7% of white smartphone owners use geosocial services, 59% get location-based information on their phones, compared with 53% of blacks and 44% of Hispanics.

With the Deals space becoming much more integrated with the location-based service space, I would expect that more and more people in all groups will use location-based services.

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.