29 Jun

Smartphones Prove Stickier Than Chewing Gum

By Greg Wester, SVP Marketing

The iPhone is celebrating it’s 10th anniversary today (June 29th). A recent article from Recode showed how in 10 years, the iPhone has transformed things like software distribution, photography, and mobile advertising. While these may seem obvious, another ripple effect – chewing gum sales – at first seems a bit harder to swallow. The chart shows that chewing gum sales have decreased by 15% since the iPhone was introduced!

But after chewing on that stat for a bit, it’s not too surprising. Our recent First Dibs Opportunity report showed that 47% of the time people unlock their time with no particular application in mind. Our recent survey work also found that 59% of people agree they often use their phone while waiting on lines in stores. That’s even a greater percentage than the 54% of people that often use their phone during TV commercials.

With all these people unlocking their phones, looking for something to do while waiting for their turn with the cashier, it’s no wonder we now miss the checkout line’s ultimate impulse buys – tabloids, mints, beverages, and chewing gum. So prior to the smartphone we’d be susceptible to reading about the Kardashians or just grabbing a pack of gum.

Now, however, people unlock, tap, swipe, and wait to find something – probably something about the Kardashians! And that leaves the poor chewing gum pack going the way of the paper tabloid. While chewing gum might make a comeback in a different context, this pattern of human behavior will continue – and not just at the checkout counter. Our unlock journeys in times of boredom become increasingly frequent – and yet we still tap, swipe, and wait for that chewy, juicy morsel of content that helps us pass the time.

This is why bettering the first screen experience is an ExtraTM, JuicyTM, BazookaTM of an opportunity for carriers. The opportunity to greatly simplify and expedite how subscribers discover content on their mobile devices will yield hefty rewards, and is there for the taking. Just like that pack of chewing gum in the checkout aisle.

By the way, 54% of people also say they often use their phone in the bathroom. I hope that hand soap sales are holding steady!