General Contractors and Mobile Technology (qSample Study)

General contractor holding up tablet with qSample logo in it

General contractors have embraced the mobile era like the rest of the nation, although their usage of mobile technology as consumers remains dissimilar to the general population. This and more are the findings of a recent qSample study concerning general contractors and mobile devices. The research was conducted using qSample’s general contractor panel. The survey was performed during the first week of May, with more than 200 general contractors across the country.

When it comes to mobile preference, general contractors are quite the Apple fanboys (or girls… though 96% of general contractors are male, according to the study). With 90% of respondents claiming they owned smartphones, 58% of those possessed an iPhone. 36% surveyed owned Android platform smartphones and only five percent named Windows phones as their preferred brand.

When it comes to tablets, 56% of general contractors owned these devices. Of those, 65% chose iPads as their brand. Once again, Android platform tablets came in second with 23%. Windows Surface tablets took third in preference with seven percent, leaving Kindle Fire tablets in last place of the sample with four percent.

 

For what purpose mainly do general contractors use mobile devices?

 

A large majority (71%) of general contractors admitted employing their smartphones for both business and personal reasons—with 23% using them for business only and five percent for personal only. For tablets, a majority (47%) of general contractors employ tablets for work, with 34% using tablets for personal use only (and eight percent mainly for reading).

Here is the breakdown for smartphone usage:

For personal use:

1. Making calls: 72%
2. Checking email: 14%
3. Texting: 10%
4. Other: 3%

An interesting, if not vexing number for marketers, is that no respondent claimed to use smartphone mainly for personal shopping in the survey, and only one percent claimed to surf the web for leisure.

For professional use:

1. Business calls/emails 42%
2. Business texts 18%
3. GPS or maps for directions: 18%
4. Business-related apps 12%
5. Assistance for supply shopping: 9%

In this respect, the lack of mobile technology for the purpose of business shopping is not surprising. As our past research demonstrates, general contractors utilize mobile devices for purchasing personal or business products far less than general consumers.

 

Do general contractors market online?

 

Based on the study, only 26% of respondents surveyed admitted employing online forms of advertising and marketing. Of those, these were the primary methods:

1. Google ads campaigns: 34%
2. Social Media networking: 24%
3. Social Media advertising: 18%
4. Using services of third party marketing company: 18%

Many marketers have proclaimed the era of banner advertising as dead. General contractors seem to agree with this, as only seven percent employed this form of marketing as an option.

 

Why are general contractors not as involved online as other demographics?

 

The reasons why general contractors utilize mobile devices widely but are still not as adept as the rest of the population, may have to do with the amount spent online daily, as the study revealed:

Less than an hour: 33%
1-2 hours: 46%
3-4 hours: 19%
4-6 hours: 15%
More than 6 hours: 6%

(One should consider that the average person spends more than six hours a day online.)

Of the amount of time spent online, a larger amount was used primarily for work-related tasks (70%). After that, it was reading the news (13%). Only six percent of general contractors used mobile devices primarily for personal shopping, with the same percentage for leisure/entertainment. This points to less than the national average when it comes to shopping. According to statistics garnered from Forbes: “74 percent of people use their mobile phone to help them while shopping, with 79 percent making a purchase as a result.”

This indicates that general contractors are judicious about their time spent on mobile devices, and online in general. The apparent reason, as we have mentioned, is that general contractors are themselves mobile and thus do not invest as much time online as other, more sedentary sectors of society. Furthermore, general contractors are extremely brand loyal and habitual when it comes to shopping, as per our past studies found in General Contractors & Brand Loyalty. The research also reveals that a majority of general contractors (29%) surveyed are influenced in shopping by the opinions of peers, and not forms of marketing and advertising.

From a market research or marketing standpoint, this obviously provides to challenges. General contractors build the world around us, but if you build a digital marketing strategy for them, it doesn’t mean they will come.

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