Insight: Psychological study reveals a ‘mobile mindset’ triggered by smartphone use – Clicktale

Joint research by Clicktale and researchers from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania has uncovered the existence of a distinct psychology prompted by the use of smartphones – a ‘mobile mindset’. This unique emotional and cognitive mindset is characterised by relaxation and comfort brought about by engagement with a smartphone. A mobile mindset is individualistic, self-focused and more relaxed due to a perceived ‘safe zone’ created by a smartphone.

Entertainment-driven and partial to ‘guilty pleasures’

Because of the relaxed comfort of a safe zone, smartphone usage fosters a preference for entertaining content, such as pop culture, sport and ‘guilty pleasures’, rather than science, facts or hard news. In the study, mobile browsers were 35% more likely to engage with content that was entertaining and sports-related. In contrast, interest in science, education and regional-specific content was higher for users browsing from their desktop.

Seeking fast rewards and personalised services

Mobile users demonstrated a clear preference for content offering immediate gratification, such as coupons and clearance items. They also indicated they would be more willing to pay a premium for a personalised shopping service. On average, smartphone users were willing to pay 6.5% more for fast shipping compared to desktop users.

Less likely to donate or purchase gifts

Highlighting the individualistic nature of the mobile mindset, it was found that mobile users were 84% less likely to donate through give-back programmes, compared to desktop users. Mobile devices also play a role when purchasing gifts. According to Clicktale’s data, desktop users were 36% more likely to purchase gifts from their device, compared to smartphone users.

Dr. Shiri Melumad, one of the authors of the research white paper and assistant professor of marketing at The Wharton School, commented: “Smartphone use makes us less socially minded and more self-focused. While exploring the various elements of a mobile mindset we found out that it’s characterised by a desire to be entertained and a need for fast personalised content.”

The research study by Clicktale and Wharton highlights that brands need to move beyond mobile-optimised sites and tailor their experiences on mobile devices based on insight of customer mindsets and intent.

Ori Reshef, VP data products and head of data science at Clicktale, commented: “Brands are currently missing a huge opportunity because they don’t really understand their customers’ mindsets. Only by analysing all the digital gestures and micro-signals made by customers can brands really identify customer intent and tailor their sites accordingly. The results show that content that appeals to an individual sense of the self, sticky navigation, and an entertainment-first approach will better meet the needs of a mobile mindset and create a more engaging customer experience. Consequently, brands will be able to craft exceptional cross-channel experiences that help build customer loyalty and positively impact the bottom line.”

The whitepaper is based on research conducted using the Clicktale Experience Cloud, analysing the anonymised movement patterns and browsing behaviours of over one million digital consumers combined with deep academic analysis provided by researchers from the Wharton School.

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