As Smartphones Boom, so Does Checking In

Photo from Fortune

A new study from Comscore finds that one in five smartphone users access check in services through their device. That five times the activity found by Forrester Research in a report they put together last summer.

As if venture capitalists needed further incentive to get behind services like Foursquare, the same Comscore report found that these users, “showed a high propensity for mobile media usage, including accessing retail sites and shopping guides.”

Don’t make us spell it out. These folks checking in are lucrative targets for advertisers and businesses who take advantage of geo-targeting. It’s the business being built by folks like LocalResponse, who just rolled out a new platform with a bunch of national brands.

Part of this growth can be attributed to the widespread adoption of smartphones. Android, which leads in US market share, also led the pack in terms of check ins. Not surprisingly, and perhaps less exciting for many retailers, users who checked in a lot also displayed, “Characteristics of early adopters, including a stronger likelihood of owning a tablet device and accessing tech news.”

The Comscore study doesn’t have much information on the user base that is not checking. They are less likely to have a smartphone, of course, but what would be really interesting is to see if all the location based activity going on is changing attitudes around this behavior. A Microsoft study from January found 54 percent were concerned that sharing their location would lead to identity theft or loss of privacy.

That second data point seems sort of oxymoronic to Betabeat, since  the whole point of checking in is to share your location with others. But perhaps the future will include a class of users who check in for rewards or to keep a personal log, but never broadcast that information to anyone in their social circle. Check in chickens, perhaps? As Smartphones Boom, so Does Checking In