Checking in to location-based services on a mobile phone is still not a mainstream activity, but adoption is increasing, especially among smartphone users—those most likely to use the apps that check-ins are typically tied to.
According to comScore, 7.1% of all mobile users and 17.6% of smartphone users accessed check-in services in March 2011.
Users of check-in services were more likely than the overall smartphone population to be female, under 35 years old and full-time students.
Female smartphone users’ adoption of the check-in is somewhat surprising in light of research on mobile privacy and security, which has sometimes found women are more sensitive than men to disclosing personal information like their location. But both men and women have indicated privacy was a concern when it came to location-based apps.
Smartphone users who check in to location-based apps also indexed higher for participation in every other mobile activity studied by comScore. From overall browser and application usage to ad recall and mobile shopping activities, check-in service users are out in front of the general smartphone population. Check-in service users, for example, are 86% more likely to access mobile travel services than average smartphone users.
Users of check-in services are an active group that spends enough time on mobile to see and remember marketing messages there. As uptake continues, that habit will develop in more of the mobile population. Currently, check-ins still skew young, with only a third of current users ages 35 and older, but if app developers and their marketing partners continue to reassure users about the risks and rewards of participation that landscape could change.