The top two local categories that consumers search for on their phones are shopping and food/beverage, and the least searched for category is construction, renovations, and repair, according to a recent study by Mediative.

Overall, men use their phones more than women to search in the categories of automotive/transportation and electronics (the biggest difference by gender was in those two categories). Women search more than men do for food/beverage, health/medicine, personal care, and shopping.

Below, additional key findings from the report, which was based on an eye-tracking study and an online survey of 556 Canadian adults.

Frequency of Searches 

  • 35% of respondents conduct personal care, shopping, and food/beverage searches on their phones 1-3 times a week.
  • In contrast, travel/lodging, home/garden, and construction/renovation/repair searches are conducted much less frequently.

Search Terms by Vertical 

  • Auto/transportation and financial/legal mobile searches are heavily specific to the business name, as are sports/recreation and shopping searches.
  • Construction/renovation/repair, and home/garden tend to be more general searches.

Checking In

  • The most common reason for "checking-in" is "to get discounts or coupons," closely followed by "to discover interesting things around you."
  • 45% of the participants who completed the survey indicated that they have never checked in at a business. Of those people, 64% were over the age of 34.
  • 20% indicated that they check in to a business at least once a week. Of those, 45% were in the age range of 18-34. 
  • Of the 9.9% of people who said they check in almost every day or more than once a day, 55% are in the age range of 18-34. 

Eye-Tracking Results

  • When looking at a map on their phones, searchers tend to focus their gaze in the middle of the screen and move the map accordingly.
  • Local searching in the mobile browser exhibits more of a "triangle" scanning behavior than in local search apps, possibly because there are organic search results with titles that people must scan, rather than just business names.
  • For longer lists of results, mobile searchers tend to keep their eyes relatively still near the middle of the screen and scroll through the content, rather than looking from top to bottom, scrolling, and looking from top to bottom again.

About the research: The report was based on an online survey of 556 Canadian adults (47% male/53% female) conducted in March 2013. The eye-tracking study included 31 participants and was conducted in Mediative's lab in Toronto.

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How Consumers Use Local Search on Their Mobile Phones

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image of Ayaz Nanji

Ayaz Nanji is a writer, editor, and a content strategist. He is a co-founder of ICW Media and a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji