Consumers with mobile terminals use them especially when they have nothing else to do. Brands and companies looking for new customers should be taking this new phenomenon into account.

Smartphone and tablet users are increasingly transforming their ‘dead time' into useful time spent on their mobile phones. CA Technologies, which has just published a report on the subject, calls this effect "Mobile Economic Time". This reclaimed time, which adds up to an estimated 38 days per year, is garnered from those moments in the day when a person is in a position to use his/her mobile device. The report lists three such moments: commercial breaks in TV programmes, relaxing or having a coffee, and when travelling on public transportation. The calculation doesn’t take into account telephone calls or strictly work-related activity; all the more reason why vendors should try to capitalise on mobile time.

New prospects from the explosion of online shopping

"During 'Mobile Economic Time' consumers with smartphones and tablets are very likely to go online to access brands and company websites", explains Chanaka Jayawardhena, Professor of Marketing at Hull University, who authored the report. "Brands and companies therefore need to take advantage of this to create a mobile experience which is both secure and positive," he adds. And that experience will need to meet the expectations of increasingly demanding users. Customers want to get the most out of their sophisticated phones, which come with unlimited Internet access packages. . "Consumers already have a zero tolerance attitude to brands that fail to deliver a good mobile service. They have the same expectations when using their smartphones as if they were on their computers," says Kobi Korsah, Marketing Director at CA Technologies EMEA.

Zero tolerance from users

If brands want to both attract new loyal customers and retain their current clientele, they need to focus on security, the interface, and user feedback; otherwise these customers will go elsewhere to make use of their ‘dead time'. Looking at the figures, we should bear in mind the high smartphone penetration, especially in Europe (almost 50% of all mobile users in France and Italy at end-2010, for example), and the increase in the sale of tablets, up from just 19.5 million units in 2010 to 54.8 million in 2011.