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Google: Businesses can benefit from mobile Kiwis

Google claims every second New Zealander now owns a smartphone as Kiwis become more mobile than ever before, but warns smart advertisers need to follow their lead.

Fresh from news that industry rival Facebook smashed financial expectations last quarter due to a high surge in advertising revenue, the internet search engine says 54% of the country's population now own a smartphone.

According to the study, conducted by IPSOS MediaCT, the figures put Kiwis almost on par with the US (56%) and while Australians are still ahead at 65%, New Zealand folk are catching up quickly with an increase of ten percentage points from a year earlier.

Kiwis are also engaging online more with mobile than their American counterparts, with 42% spending more time online with their smartphone over the past six months than before, compared with just 34% in the US.

Almost three in every four Kiwis (74%) loathe to leave home without their phone but despite the results, Google’s data shows that the majority of large advertisers do not yet have a mobile website, meaning they’re missing out on customers trying to visit them from smartphones.

“As consumers migrate to mobile, Kiwi businesses need to follow,” says Tony Keusgen, Country manager, Google NZ.

"It all comes down to basics: know your customers and make sure they can find you on mobile devices. Otherwise you will keep missing out on sales leads.”

Keusgen says with smartphone ownership on the rise, mobile has continued to shape the way people shop.

The report says 74% of smartphone owners have researched a product or service from their device; of them, one third have made a purchase from their mobile. While others who start research on smartphones go on to complete purchases on a desktop (38%) and in-person (35%).

Products aren’t the only thing mobile-savvy Kiwis are searching for. Hungry hordes of New Zealanders also turn to mobile to fill up on food and drink, with 51% having searched for restaurant, bar or pub information.

Mobile is big for business

Google’s research shows that mobile is big for small business, too. Almost nine out of 10 smartphone owners have searched for local businesses or services, while 87% have taken action as a result, such as contacting the business, visiting in person, or buying or booking something online.

With one in five searching for local information on a daily basis, the stakes are high: almost a million Kiwis are estimated to search for local information from smartphones every day.

“Big or small, national or local, there is no business in New Zealand which isn’t being transformed by mobile,” Keusgen says.

“If you’re an advertiser wondering when to develop your mobile strategy, the answer has to be: yesterday.”

From mobile to multiscreen

But Kiwis haven’t just gone mobile--they’ve gone dual--or even multiscreen says Keusgen.

Even though almost one in three Kiwi smartphone owners would give up their TV before their mobile, a greater number prefer to use both at the same time: more than half of smartphone owners regularly use their smartphones while watching TV.

For anyone who’s done a quick search on mobile to see what other films the actor on screen has starred in, this probably won’t come as a surprise.

But Keusgen believes it’s a significant opportunity for smart marketers to create campaigns that work across multiple screens, especially considering that almost six in ten smartphone owners surveyed searched for a product or service from mobile after seeing an offline ad.

“We used to tell marketers to go mobile, but it’s clear that’s no longer enough," he adds.

"Kiwis are quickly becoming master multitaskers, and businesses need to start creating campaigns that work across all screens: desktop, tablet, mobile and TV."

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