Mobile location-based services set to go mainstream in the UK: study

A study has indicated that geo-location based social media such as those provided by Facebook and Foursquare are set to become a mass form of communications in the UK.

Published: 29 Sep 2011

A study has indicated that geo-location based social media such as those provided by Facebook and Foursquare are set to become a mass form of communications in the UK.

According to Kinetic Worldwide’s latest research into consumers’ behaviour on the move, half of UK consumers have now used location-based services via their mobiles and 45 percent say that location-based social media already affects their decision making while out and about, encouraging them to explore their surroundings more.

The company believes consumers are becoming increasingly interested in the possibilities that location-based social media offer them.

“Significant numbers now say mobile marketing could be acceptable if it is orientated to where they are. Far from being a static home-based form of communications, social media will increasingly influence choices and behaviour in out of home environments,” said Nick Mawditt, global director of insight and marketing at Kinetic Worldwide.

Other key findings are as follows:

- Awareness of Foursquare behind Facebook and Google location services
- 85 percent of 25-34s now favour their mobile phones over PC or other devices
- 68 percent of social media users now use key networks on the move

Conducted just before Facebook’s decision to phase out “Places” as a standalone service, Kinetic found that in the UK, Facebook Places dominates consumer awareness of such services with 67 percent of consumers aware of the service compared to 39 percent for Google Latitude, 24 percent for Twitter Places, 23 percent for Foursquare, 5 percent for Dopplr, 5 percent Gowalla and 2 percent for Looptmix.

The study points to growing demand for location-based communications with 43 percent saying they are likely to use geo-location information technology more in the future; 48 percent said they would use them to meet people, while 26 percent would make recommendations as well as seek them out for destinations via mobile social media.

The study points to the potential of location-based marketing and an increase in the popularity of mobile marketing if such communications are relevant to a person’s current location. It found 44 percent expect to use location services to access promotional offers relevant to where they are at the time, while 20 percent would find location relevant mobile phone advertising acceptable, soaring to 50 percent for 35-44 year olds.

Use of social media

More than two-thirds of those who use Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn now do so whilst out of home using mobile devices. Twitter emerges as the most mobile orientated network, with half of all Twitter users accessing the site while on the move, compared to 41 percent for Facebook and 26 percent for LinkedIn.

The use of social media by people in public spaces reflects the rapid growth in smartphone ownership in the UK. Kinetic’s study found that mobile devices are now considered far more important to people’s lifestyles than PCs or laptops, with 85 percent of 25-34 year olds favouring mobiles over other devices.


Tablet computers are also contributing to the growth in mobile computing; 62 percent of tablet users say they use their tablet while travelling or commuting. Kinetic found six percent of UK adults now own an iPad or other tablet computer up 50 percent since May, with ownership highest in the 25-34 year old age group (13 percent). However, the study points to a potential surge in ownership with 14 percent saying they are currently considering buying one, with 75 percent considering an iPad, 50 percent a Samsung model and 30 percent a Blackberry Playbook.

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