Location-based services such as Foursquare and Facebook Places haven't yet reached a tipping point: Although 56% of smartphone users are aware of geolocation apps, only 39% use at least one, according to a survey from White Horse.

Among surveyed smartphone owners who use location-based apps, Facebook Places is the most popular (42%), followed by Google Latitude (27%) and Foursquare (25%).

The high adoption level of Facebook Places is likely due to the incidental lift driven by the huge success of the Facebook mobile app, White Horse notes.

Below, other findings from the report titled Lost in Geolocation, based on survey of 437 smartphone users, by White Horse Productions.

Seeking Personal Connections

Users of location-based apps are drawn to such services for personal connections (41%) and to find information on places from people they trust (21%). 

Only 8% of location-based apps users cite discounts and deals as the primary benefit of using such apps.

Barriers to Adoption

Among smarphone owners aware of location-based apps, but not using them, most cite unfavorable reasons for not doing so, with privacy issues topping the list:

  • 32.9% cite privacy as a concern.
  • 26.0% find the benefits unclear and, consequently, the apps unnecessary.
  • 19.2% say such apps are redundant to how they already communicate.

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User Demographics

Overall, users of location-based apps are young, active contributors to social networks.

  • Awareness is highest among the young: Roughly 62% of smartphone users age 20-29 are aware of location-based apps, compared with 50% of those age 30-49 and 27% of those age 50-79.
  • 99.4% of location-based apps users also use social networks such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter.
  • 86% of location-based apps users say they interact on social networking sites at least several times per week, compared with 67% of non-users who interact at that frequency.
  • Non-users tend to be female: 65% are.

Frequency of Use

Daily use of location-based apps is still low, particularly compared to social networking use.  Among location-based apps users, 19% check in with their favorite geolocation service at least once a day, compared with 60% who check in with their favorite social site daily.

Moreover, roughly 12% of surveyed location-based apps users say they no longer use such services, but virtually none have stopped using social networking sites.

About the data: Findings are from a survey of 437 US smartphone users, February 16-23, 2011.

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