39% of Smart Phone Users Use Location-Based Apps; Privacy Fears Still a Barrier

Digital marketing agency White Horse conducted a survey of 437 US smartphone users (14 and older) from February 16-23, 2011 and concludes that usage of location-based services has not yet reached the “tipping point.”  The chief barriers?  Privacy fears and lack of clear benefits.

The majority of smartphone users are aware of location-based applications (56%), but only 39% use them. For those that do, the top applications being used by survey respondents are Facebook Places (42%), Google Latitude (27%) and Foursquare (25%).

The top benefits people see to themselves personally in using these applications are

  • “connection to other people I know or could meet” (41%),
  • “finding a place liked by people I trust” (21%)
  • “insight about my travel and movement over time” (17%)

Only 8% see the key benefit as being “savings in discounts and merchant rewards,” and only 4% admit that it’s about “achieving activity milestones in a game.”

The top barriers?  Privacy concerns, no need/interest/benefit and “redundant to how I already connect” top that list:

Source: White Horse Productions

Still, White Horse found that users of dedicated location-based applications are younger and more influential than average smart phone users, creating some strong reasons for marketers to continue to find ways of leveraging these platforms to reach some of the most attractive consumers.

To download the complete report (registration required), visit White Horse.