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Mobile WiFi consumption on the rise: JiWire

Thirty-eight percent of mobile users employing WiFi in cafés are making purchases via mobile, according to a recent study by JiWire.

In its Mobile Audience Insights Report, JiWire looked into demographic and behavioral interests of WiFi users finding a 79 percent increase in mobile phones using WiFi hotspots in the first half of 2009. The study also finds that iPhones and iPod touches are the most popular WiFi-enabled devices, comprising 97.8 percent of all mobile device connections.

?People are spending significantly more time on-the-go, and looking for ways to remain connected when out of the home or out of the office,? said David Staas, senior vice president of marketing at JiWire, San Francisco, CA.

?A major finding in this study is that people are not utilizing WiFi just as a quick utility when on the road to check email,? he said. ?Instead, they are using public WiFi as an alternative to their home or office, and bringing their entire Internet experience with them.?

JiWire is a mobile audience media company, which uses WiFi to deliver advertisements.

The report from JiWire shows that mobile consumption of WiFi is increasing rapidly.

While the iPhone and iPod touch make up much of the WiFi-consuming audience, the Palm Pre debuted as the No. 5 most popular WiFi-enabled mobile device in June, three months after its introduction to the market.

The report focuses mainly on the online audiences in cafés and coffee shops.

?As people spend more time on the go, 44 percent of their time each day according to PQ Media, marketers need to understand the changing dynamic of how people remain connected, how they utilize digital content and services, and develop strategies that communicate to them when they are essentially mobile,? Mr. Staas said.

?New elements can be leveraged to create unique marketing messages and campaigns, such as location, and broader audiences can be reached, as the café results indicate,? he said.

Findings reveal that many people use these comfortable and quiet environments as makeshift offices or libraries, as 83 percent of users are connecting in their own neighborhood.

Of the 3 percent of coffee-shop WiFi consumers, 40 percent are business decision makers with management titles, 23 percent have C-level or vice president titles and 44 percent are in small- to mid-sized businesses.

JiWire claims that the small- to mid-sized business demographic is typically a tough segment to reach.

The study finds that 38 percent of the café WiFi audience make online purchases during their visits and 77 percent are in the market to make a major purchase in the next year.

Forty-eight percent intend to buy a new smartphone, which is good news for marketers who are glued to the iPhone platform.

Other individuals from the café WiFi segment plan to travel frequently (54 percent), buy a new laptop (28 percent) or plan to buy a new car (24 percent).

JiWire claims that this research completely changes most marketers? perceptions of the business demographic.

For a long time, many have believed the businessman was hard at work while on his mobile device, whether in the office or not.

The study from JiWire challenges that, showing that many of them are fully engaging the Internet, using social networks, researching products and actively buying goods and services.

?The growth of WiFi shows that this continues to become the preferred method of connectivity given its broad presence and faster speeds,? Mr. Staas said. ?From a consumer perspective, it allows a person to truly tap into the full Internet and harness the great capabilities of the latest smartphones. 

?For marketers trying to reach a mobile audience, it?s critical to have a comprehensive strategy that fully engages their target audience wherever they are and however they choose to remain connected,? he said.

?There are many ways to reach an audience and WiFi is proving to be an effective channel.?