To anyone looking around them today, it’s obvious that the world of the web and connected devices is changing. What may not be so obvious is the unprecedented pace of that change, and the scale of the coming impact we’re just beginning to feel. According to MIT Technology Review, smartphones are now on track to be the fastest spreading technology in human history, with only the tablet “poised for even swifter adoption.” And Cisco reports that smartphone usage more than doubled in one year, and will double again in the coming year.

Several new research reports that were released point to the accelerating changes happening as the world rapidly moves to multi-screen devices, and I’d recommend anyone who wants to stay on top of the media and advertising world read them (you can read my past posts on these studies here).

One of the most striking facts of the mobile revolution is that it makes internet access 24/7, and as Forrester Research declared in late August, we now have hit a tipping point with the number of consumers who are—as they describe—“always addressable”. As they wrote in their report:

“We’ve entered an era where more Americans access the mobile Internet than go to college. That kind of shift is an indicator of an even bigger change that’s occurring: Digital behaviors continue to splinter across more devices, but those behaviors are more flexible and more frequent, connecting people to each other, to information, and to brands more often and in more places.”

In late September Pew Research looked at the impact of mobile growth on news consumption in their Trends In News Consumption Report, and found: “the percentage who regularly get news on a cellphone, tablet or other mobile device has nearly doubled since 2010, from 9% to 15%, and the number regularly seeing news on social network sites has almost tripled, from 7% to 20%.” Their study found that mobile and social media use are deeply intertwined, with the growth of smartphone adoption a “major driver of the growth in social media”. Not surprisingly, a lot of the growth is driven by Millennials, who are highly proficient at using Mobile, Local and Social technologies. In fact, the research organization found that 2/3rds of 18-29 year olds now own smartphones.

Google and Ipsos research also released the latest version of their “Our Mobile Planet” Study in September, looking at the impact on how consumers search for products and information, find a business, and use social media. Some key findings:

  • 57% of smartphone users search daily on their phones.
  • 94% of smartphone users look for local info on their phone and 90% take action after searching, including contacting the business or purchasing.
  • Smartphones have changed the way people shop- 96% have researched a product or service using their smarthphone.
  • 80% of users visit social networks

The mind-numbing speed with which all of this is unfolding means that staying on top of how this is impacting behavior will be key in the coming months and years. Stay tuned to our blog and we’ll keep you updated on all the developments you need to know.