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Street smarts: the rise of online maps and directions

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, July 2009 – June 2014, average annual sample = 51,311 Australians 14+

Would we be literally lost without our phones? Without satellites to pinpoint where we are and mobile apps and websites to tell us which way to go? The number of Australians using a mobile phone to access online maps and directions has increased almost ten-fold in the last five years, new data from Roy Morgan Research shows.

In the year to June 2010, back when only around two million of us had a smartphone, 423,000 Australians 14+ (2.4%) looked up maps or directions online via mobile phone in an average four week period—but 4.35 million had used a computer for the purpose.

Today, around 12 million Australians have a smartphone and almost four million have used one to access maps or directions online. However, despite declining from a peak of over five million in the year to June 2012, more of us (over 4.5 million) still use a computer.

Lost without you: Australians using mobiles or computers to get maps

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, July 2009 – June 2014, average annual sample = 51,311 Australians 14+

Tim Martin, General Manager - Media, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Accessing maps and getting directions is an online activity that is a natural fit for mobile phones. We have all noticed increasing numbers of people are walking the city streets holding their phones in one hand, whilst avoiding pedestrians, cars, trams and buses and keeping their eyes open for their destination. A few years back we used to print the maps, now we just follow the directions. However although the majority of us now has a smartphone, computers remain the more common tool for accessing maps or directions online, perhaps at work or at home on the weekends —although if the trend continues, this may well change in the next year.

“With multiple devices now available for us to perform the range of online activities, we innately begin to prioritise which device is used for what purpose and when.

“To maximise the uptake of digital products and services, businesses and advertisers with a cross-device presence will need to keep a close eye not only on their reach among online consumers, but on which devices consumers are currently (or will soon be) using for different activities.” 

To learn how to identify, understand and reach Australians with different internet activity habits and device preferences, contact:

Vaishali Nagaratnam
Telephone: +61 (3) 9224 5309
Vaishali.Nagaratnam@roymorgan.com