Pew has just released a MAGNIFICENT bit of research. It is as far as I can see, the most thorough deep, massive consumer behavior survey ever conducted in any one country, about mobile behavior. They have 3 separate Pew research projects combined into the survey findings, including - as far as I know the first time ever - a week-long period when a panel of 1,600 smartphone owning adults did TWO surveys PER DAY for the week, about HOW and WHY they use their phones. Its incredible. Seven pages of findings online, all free, go read it all. This is THE BEST data of this depth ever reported anywhere. (Don't just read the first page, it gets really good pages 3-4-5). Truly valuable insights, thank you Pew for the excellent research and releasing all that info into the public domain.
Now, its a survey of smartphone owners (so remember, as the USA now is at 64% of adults owning a smartphone - by those fresh April 2015 Pew numbers - this is behavior by the affluent middle class and those one third, mostly poor, who can't afford smartphones and still have dumbphones, their behavior isn't quite like this. But this is now just about 2/3 of the total US adult population. Secondly, yes its above 18 year olds, so we know young people are very addicted to tech and youth behavior is missing. Even so, adults, in USA, only smartphone users, it is the best deepest most thorough research I have ever seen on a national scale on one survey sample (or actually combining findings from 3 surveys but by the same organization, over roughly the same period of time, released now at the same time as one study).
THE TRUTH IS IN THE POCKET
I will want to come back for many other fascinating findings, but today I wanted to just start on one point. I first found research about this peculiar new change in human behavior, I like to call 'The Truth Is In The Pocket;' phenomenon in 2012. The research was by Vodafone in the country and reported that among all New Zealanders, 38% had been in a situation of an argument, debate or bet, that they had gone to their pocket and Googled the fact, or gone to Wikipedia etc. To resolve an argument, we now go to the pocket. Why, because... The Truth Is In The Pocket. And I said that while that finding was first noticed in New Zealand, it no doubt was a universal trend and that it was one of the biggest changes in human behavior, why? Because it changes the very relationship with human beings and facts. Humans and information. Humans and the truth. If we get into an argument about say who won the championship in whatever sport that particular year, or whatever fact, we now no longer are stuck in an endless pingpong of yelling and heated argument, we now quietly go into our pockets, and Google it, or check it on Wikipedia. Argument is settled!
That was just over one in 3 in New Zealand three YEARS ago, but NZ is of course one of the more advanced countries in mobile, as is much of the Asia-Pacific region like Australia, Singapore, Taiwan etc. (even as a fresh Australian survey found that local Australian tech executives felt their country was lagging haha, they should go visit the USA or Canada or Belgium to see whose really lagging). Oh, the relevant part in the Vodafone NZ study - it was among all New Zealand mobile owners, not just smartphone owners.
So fast forward 3 years, now we have fresh Pew study, and as far as I've seen, its the first time that same question was asked in another country. And while its only asked of smatphone users, the result was ... drumroll ... 53% of adult US smartphone owners. So across all US adults, thats 34%. Essentially similar finding now in the USA, as New Zealand had three years ago (once AGAIN proving the USA is a laggard in mobile but thats another story, the Pew study is full of such findings by the way).
So. First. Put this thought into your mind because now we have two countries reporting it. More than one in three adults have already experienced the situation, where they are in an argument, a debate, a discussion, a dispute, a pub quiz or whatever, and they decided to find the truth by going to their pocket. The Truth Is In Our Pocket. This changes the relationship between humans and facts, humans and information. We learn that all truth lies there, in the pocket. So the next time we need to find a place, we feel a pain and are worried about our health, or we want to do a price check or we are worried the taxi driver is deliberately driving in a circle to make our faxi fare higher, we now know: The Truth Is In Our Pocket. Yes, more than 1 in 3 New Zealanders, just over 1 in 3 Americans already have done this. No doubt its over half of Europeans and probably 3 in 4 Japanese and Koreans who have also done this. But yes, this is a train that only goes one way. The very relationship between humans and information is now changing. Previously that info rested 'somewhere' and we had to go to the library to find out, or wait until we got home, read it in the telephone book or looked up a map or more recently, went online. But with mobile, The Truth Is In Our Pocket.
I have noticed it myself in my public speaking. I often like to do an audience quiz and give away a few prizes like say my latest Almanac (its coming in a few weeks, if you order the 2014 edition now, you get both for hte same low price, and don't worry that the website shows an older edition, I just haven't had time to go update that page, of course I ship the latest edition always). So I ask some question of some fact or stat about mobile. And now increasingly the winner is someone who Googled it right on the spot, in the audience. And I apprecaite that. Because.... The Truth Is In The Pocket.
I said in 2012 that this is an awesome finding and it will change humankind (here is a slide set of me at the MMA Forum in Vietnam talking about it, see slide 4). Now we have the first instance of that same finding by a separate research body, in another major country. And the finding is consistent. This is a great research finding and that alone makes the Pew study released just now a magnificent read. Except there are TONS more of excellent insights coming out of it. I will return to this topic soon for more. Go read the Pew Study now (and read all of it not just the first page)..