Smartphone usage is on the rise and consumers worldwide make use of the opportunities of being connected through their mobile devices at all times. However, its not just tech savvy consumers that are using Smartphones, it’s a variety of demographics that are continuing to adopt Smartphones. Latest research from eMarketer now showed that even the youngest demographics are using Smartphones – that is almost two out of 10 kids in the US. This is incredible and with this generation growing up, expectations towards technology will further grow and they will increasingly use their Smartphones or other devices for things in their everyday lives and of course for travel (eMarketer).
Kids and Smartphones
In the US, Smartphones are used as early as kids are in elementary school as 19% of children already have Smartphones; 42% of middle school children are using Sartphones and 56% of high school teenagers. Why is this the case? Smartphones are very easy to use as children learn early how to swipe and scroll on Smartphones. In most households in the US, at least one person already has a Smartphone and this is how children come in contact with the phones. Many children actually use a Smartphone of a family member on a daily basis. This time is spent exploring the Smartphones and playing around with applications on the device.
In 77% of US households someone owns a Smartphone and due to that 43% of the children are using one. 65% of children are using a Smartphone on a daily basis, 28% weekly and 6% less often. These figures are very likely to increase in the future. What many parents and maybe tourism organisations or destinations underestimate is the fact that children are using their own or their parents’ Smartphones if they know it or not. This needs to be considered in terms of content that is being distributed about the destination.
Implications for tourism
Children might want to use Smartphones before or during a holiday and tourism organisations and destinations need to consider that especially when developing apps. Children might also want to use destination applications, so within an application, it might be a good idea to develop a "kids corner" that contains playful and more entertaining content. Gamification in tourism is another great opportunity that both parents and children of all ages can enjoy together. Most destinations could improve or integrate content for children as they need to keep in mind that children will grow up and becoming the travellers of the future. Building relationships with the entire family including the children is crucial, as young travellers can also become advocated for a destination and share content with their social communities. It is certainly interesting to see how the adoption and usage of Smartphones develops in the future and monitor its implications for the tourism industry.
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