The study finds that 82% of executives use some kind of smartphone, fewer than use laptops (87%), but more than use desktop PCs (76%). Today, 12% of executives said their smartphone is their most frequently used device, but within three years, 46% expect to be using either a smartphone or Web-enabled tablet most often.
"There's a seismic shift going on in the C-suite. These latest findings show that senior executives are on the cusp of embracing mobile as their primary information device," said Stuart Feil, editorial director of Forbes Insights. "This move from novelty to mainstream usage mirrors what we've seen occur with video over the past 18 months, so we could see some significant swings related to mobility in the very near future."
The survey also found that not only do 82% of executives carry a smartphone, but 28% use both a BlackBerry-type smartphone and a browser-bases smartphone (such as a Droid or iPhone) for business purposes. Respondents use an average of 3.46 devices each (out of seven possible options); CEOs (4.21 devices) and CFOs (4.22 devices) use the most.
Executives under age 40 are leading the charge to use mobile devices for work. More than 70% of these younger executives agree that they'd rather make business purchases on the mobile Web than over the phone. Executives also conduct an average of seven mobile searches per day, compared to an average of 12 desktop searches. Among executives under age 40, 23% conduct 20 or more mobile searches each workday.
Younger executives are becoming "device agnostic" - they're less driven by the device available and more driven by the device at hand. This trend could lead to a willingness to rely on fewer, albeit more powerful, devices. Senior executives can be reached through mobile ads. More than half "notice" mobile advertising, and click on mobile Web ads and mobile paid searches.
The survey is based on an exclusive survey of 306 C-level and senior executives at large U.S. companies ($500M-plus in annual revenues).
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