Almost 86 million people use their mobile phones to seek local business information in the US, according to results from the Neustar Localeze and 15miles Sixth Annual comScore Local Search Usage Study [pdf]. The study highlights the growing importance of mobile devices to search, with the total number of visitors to search navigation sites conducted via mobile phones and tablets growing by 26% and 19%, respectively, between March and December 2012. Even more encouragingly, mobile searchers are more likely than PC and laptop searchers to make a purchase.
That’s good news because search activity appears to be migrating from PCs and laptops to mobile devices. Total US searches on the PC dropped 6% year-over-year to 27.8 billion in December 2012, with local searches declining faster than non-local searches (17% vs. 5%).
One reason why mobile phones and tablets are more likely to result in a purchase might be their prominence at later stages of local business search activity. That is, PCs and laptops are far more likely than mobile phones and tablets to be used at the beginning stages of a local business search than at the end.
- Application-based mobile search has almost doubled in the past 2 years. Of the mobile phone searchers who use applications to search for local businesses, 35% use Google Maps compared to 16% who use Apple Maps. The same disparity is evident when it comes to tablet searches (25% vs. 10%).
- Mobile phone searchers are more likely than tablet and PC/laptop searchers to find maps, directions, and distance to be helpful features provided by sites, while tablet users value consumer ratings and reviews, promotions and online discounts, and methods of payment accepted.
- Satisfaction with local business information among Portal Site searchers has declined from 84% in 2010 to 80% in 2012.
- The active use of social networking sites to search for local businesses has dipped slightly from 15% in 2011 to 13% in 2012. Facebook is easily the leading site used for local business searches.
- 54% of online searches are for services, compared to 40% for products. However, a leading 23% of respondents reported that the last local business they searched for was a restaurant.
- The most important factors in choosing a business are location (56%) and familiarity (50%).
- 48% of mobile phone users, 36% of PC/laptop users, and 32% of tablet users visited a business after a successful local business search.
About the Data: The study describes its methodology as follows:
“comScore, in conjunction with Localeze and 15miles, designed on online survey instrument that focused on understanding the use and value of Internet Yellow Pages, Print Yellow Pages, Search, and monitor shifts in consumer behavior and opinions.
The target respondents were individuals who have conducted a local business search in the last twelve months.
comScore surveyed panel members and the general population via email and POP invitations. Over 3,000 completed responses were collected. Respondents were categorized based on the site they used for their last online business search, and weighted on age, gender, and last site used to conduct a local business search.
The Neustar Localeze/15miles Sixth Annual Local Search Usage Study consists of both a quantitative survey and behavioral data from comScore’s U.S consumer panel.
Quantitative Survey Design: The survey study consisted of a targeted sample of over 3,000 users of local business Internet searches conducted in three search categories: Internet Yellow Pages, Local Search Sites, and Portal Search Sites. Internet Yellow Page Sites (IYP) included 394 sites including SuperPages.com, Yellowpages.com, DexKnows.com, Yellowbook.com, and Local.com. Local Search Sites included 875 sites including Google Local/Maps, Yahoo! Local, Bing Local, Citysearch.com, City.Ask.com/Maps.Ask.com, Mapquest.com and Yelp.com. Portal Search Sites included 1,614 sites including Google.com, Yahoo.com, MSN.com/Bing.com, AOL.com and Ask.com.
Behavioral Data: comScore provided additional analysis of total web search activity, local web search activity, and local mobile content consumption.
The survey was fielded December 4, 2012 to December 14, 2012.