pew+phone usageRapid diffusion and use of Internet-enabled mobile devices, smartphones in particular, along with that of social networks is “creating a new culture of real-time information seekers and problem solvers,” in the U.S., according to a new report from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

Looking to gain insight into the ways American cell- and smartphone users are making use of real-time information, the Pew Center project team brought in Princeton Survey Research Associates to carry out a representative national survey of the “just-in time phenomenon.”

Overall, the survey results revealed that 62% of the entire U.S. adult population were “just-in time” mobile phone users– defined as anyone who had used their phone to perform any one of a list of activities in the preceding 30 days.


The researchers found that some 70% of all cell phone and 86% of smartphone owners who used their mobile phones in the previous 30 days performed at least one of the following activities:

  • 41% coordinated a meeting or get-together
  • 35% solved an unexpected problem that they or someone else had encountered
  • 30% decided whether to visit a business, such as a restaurant
  • 27% found information to help settle an argument they were having
  • 23% looked up a score of a sporting event
  • 20% got up-to-the-minute traffic or public transit information to find the fastest way to get somewhere
  • 19% got help in an emergency situation

Last December, comScore released a report that 38% of U.S. smartphone owners used their mobile phones to purchase something online at least once since they’ve owned their devices, with digital goods, clothing/accessories, tickets and daily deals the most popular online purchases.

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