67% of the world’s population (5.1 billion) are mobile users as of 2019, GSMA Intelligence reports. Mobile technology is quickly emerging as one of the fastest ways to reach customers. It’s even begun to take priority for search engines. In July, Google started using new websites’ mobile versions to categorize and share content in search results.
From smartphones and tablets to health apps, your patients are spending more and more time on their mobile devices.
Here’s an overview of mobile usage today and how it affects your pharmacy.
Who Are Our Mobile Users?
In the US, 96% of US adults own a cellphone of some kind, according to Pew Research. 81% have a smartphone with internet capability and mobile apps. Adults 49 and under are slightly more likely (99%) to own a cell phone or smartphone than those over 50 (91-95%). Over half of US adults also own tablets and close to one-quarter own an e-reader as well as a mobile phone.
Research suggests there has been a recent uptick in seniors adopting mobile devices. The percent of US adults in the Silent Generation (born 1928-1945) who own a smartphone has risen from 30% in 2018 to 40% in 2019. And the number of those with tablets has risen from 25% to 33% in the same period.
How Your Patients Use Smartphones and Mobile Apps
Mobile users spent $101 billion on mobile apps last year, according to a recent App Annie report. In many cases, mobile internet usage has begun to outpace personal computer and home internet use. Nearly 1 in 5 American adults are “smartphone-dependent.” That is, they have no home broadband service or other internet access outside of their mobile devices.
A 2014 study by Pew Research found that 62% of smartphone owners use their devices to find health information more often than online banking (57%) and real estate listings (44%). In 2018, 46% of healthcare consumers were using smartphones and tablets to help manage their health, up from 36% in 2016.
Health apps have also increased significantly in the past few years with over 318,000 health apps available worldwide as of 2018. According to Accenture, 48% of healthcare consumers now use mHealth apps compared to 16% in 2014.
The data is clear: people are far more likely to use mobile technology to track and manage their health than ever before.
The Future of Mobile Tech
According to Statista, the number of smartphone users is predicted to grow by nearly 20% (over 600 million) before 2021. As mobile usage becomes more mainstream, technology is advancing to keep up.
5G, the next-generation to 4G internet, is set to launch this year and next and has already seen limited rollouts on major mobile networks. Like every other generation, 5G promises to improve download and upload speeds, support more devices, and solve limited service problems. It’s also said to be 10-20 times faster than 4G internet.
Futuristic internet, 5G-powered self-driving cars, and reasonably-priced, faster smartphones and wearables may still be a few years off, but there’s no doubt this update could change how we use mobile devices.
What This Means for Pharmacies
We live in an increasingly mobile world and if your pharmacy is not already marketing directly to mobile users, you’re likely missing out on a significant patient base. Thanks to accelerating technological advances, that gap will only increase over time.
A mobile-friendly website can go a long way in attracting smartphone users and positioning your pharmacy more effectively in search engine rankings. Consider adding digital offerings, such as online prescription refills, secure 2-way messaging, or a HIPAA-compliant mobile app to reach patients on the go. Prioritizing digital advertising and marketing will also help you reach a much wider audience as more people spend their time online.
By marketing to mobile users, your pharmacy can appeal to a constantly-evolving and tech-savvy market while giving your patients instant access to quality care.
To learn more about how your pharmacy can market to mobile users, contact us today.