Today, the use of mobile phones is on the rise – and becoming one of the most important tools we use for communicating and finding information. In fact, a recent report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project showed that over 83% of American adults own a cell phone, and the use of mobile is becoming an important part of everyday life. Their survey showed that:

  • 51% of cell phone users reported using their phone to get information they needed immediately
  • 40% of people surveyed reported having been in an emergency situation in the last month in which having their cell phone helped them
  • 42% of people user their phone when they were bored as a form of entertainment

Smartphone use is also on the rise, with research from Pew showing that 35% of all adults in the U.S. own smartphones, totaling 42% of all cell phone users. In addition:

  • 87% of smartphone owners access email or the Internet in their device
  • 68% of smartphone owners access email or Internet on a typical day
  • 25% of smartphone owners report using their phone as their primary device for accessing the Internet, rather than a computer
  • Of smartphone owners who use their cell as a primary source of Internet access, 1/3 of them do not have a high-speed broadband connection at home

Not only is cell and smartphone use on the rise, but, according to another report from Pew, over 28% of adults in the U.S. use mobile or location-based services of some type:

  • 28% of cell phone users use their device to get directions or recommendations
  • 5% of cell phone owners user their phone to check into locations on services like Foursquare or Gowalla, including a large portion of smartphone users
  • 9% of Internet users have configured their social network accounts on sites like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn to include their location in posts to those sites

Finally, in a report from the Local Search Association, the number of local searches happening on mobile devices is growing at unprecedented rates. In fact, their research showed that 77.1 million mobile subscribers accessed local content on mobile devices at the time of their research, up 34% from the prior year. The report also showed:

  • Local content now dominates mobile usage behaviors
  • 56% of mobile subscribers used an app to access local content
  • 73% of mobile subscribers used a browser to access local content

Want to share these stats? We’ve visualized them in this short infographic. Feel free to repost, reblog, and share this image with your network! 

So, what do all these statistics mean for your local business?

For one, the importance of having a mobile-optimized site for your local business is more important than ever. It’s critical to make sure your business can be found when consumers are searching for a local business – from their mobile device!

It also means that having a claimed, optimized Google Places page is important for your business, as well as claiming your local listings on sites that have popular local apps (like Yelp) that consumers use to find local businesses. And, it points to the importance of generating positive reviews on top review sites that local mobile searchers may discover through a browser search or mobile app.