Smartphones are getting men to do what their women have unsuccessfully tried for years: use a map and make them feel more confident. Those are some of the ways that smartphones are remaking the lives of its male users, according to a new survey from Spike TV. The study found that men are unabashedly in love with their smartphones, a borderline addictive relationship that has empowered and also distracted men in small and profound ways.
First, let’s establish that women are huge smartphone users as well. In fact, Nielsen recently said 55 percent of smartphone users age 15-24 are female. And in many ways, smartphones are used similarly by both genders, because they’re such powerful versatile tools. But it’s still fun and interesting to see how Spike TV sized up the male smartphone audience and how these users come to look at their relationship with their gadgets. It says as much about guys as it does about the technology.
The survey of 1,018 men found 88 percent of men said they “loved” their smartphone, with half saying they were actually addicted to their handset. Eight out of 10 said smartphones made their lives better, making them more confident (73 percent) and making them feel smarter (68 percent). That guys could actually find such a boost from gadget suggests smartphones are powerful, but also that men are also in need of some ego massaging and more affirmations. However, it seems like guys do have a different sense of how gadgets make them feel. A recent Retrevo study found that half of men were attracted to a person using a cool phone while only 36 percent of women said the same.
Because of smartphones, 72 percent of respondents said they were using maps and GPS more often, and another 72 percent said they were communicating more with friends. I’m sure women are also doing more of these activities too. But this kind of plays on the guy stereotypes of unfeeling cavemen, eschewing the need to turn to maps or picking up a phone to call a friend. The smartphone is now becoming the more acceptable or easier way to do these certain things for men, it seems. Wives and girlfriends, take note: Guys are more likely to do something when you wrap it up in a cool gadget.
The study also found that while phones are helping men communicate with others, they’re also helping distract men when they’re in the company of others. Four out of 10 men said they unnecessarily looked at their smartphones instead of interacting with people, while 32 percent reported people in their life were mad at them for using phones too much around them. I can attest that smartphones have often made me a bad conversation partner.
The bottom line is that smartphones are disruptive technologies in a lot of ways, and guys are feeling the impact, both good and bad. We need to spend more time figuring out the particular nuances in the ways that men and women relate to their phones. There is a deep relationship happening between consumers and their phones, and we’re still learning about how powerful, moving and dysfunctional these bonds can be. As the study points out, getting a better fix on how men use their phones can provide a lot of opportunities for marketers, retailers and content creators to tailor their outreach to this audience.