There are seven distinct types of mobile consumer, ranging from those who rarely put their device down to those who barely pick it up, according to a report from Experian Marketing Services, examining the attitudes and shopping behaviours of today's smartphone owners. This article is copyright 2014 The Best Customer Guide.

The company found that 15% of the US population fall into the 'Personals' category which, despite being one of the younger consumer segments, are among the least likely to use social media. In fact, nearly half of Personals reported that they do not use social media. Meanwhile, their usage of messaging apps such as Google Talk, Whatsapp and Kik Messenger are well above average.

"Smartphones provide brands and consumers with an intensely personal medium, and marketers need to understand the individual preferences of their customer base in order to deliver rewarding brand experiences," said Bill Tancer, general manager of global research for Experian Marketing Services. "For example, marketers who want to reach Personals will want to invest in advertising through more direct channels like SMS and app-based messaging, rather than social media."

The seven segments detailed in the Always-On Consumer report include:

  1. Prodigies
    Making up 5% of mobile users, Prodigies are constantly connected and are the first to adopt new technology. They are a strong market for Windows phones and open source platforms that allow for greater customization. Chrome, Google+ and Google Talk have high concentrations of Prodigies among their users. Prodigies are nearly 10 times more likely than the average smartphone owner to say they would be interested in receiving ads on their phones and seven times more likely to say they would buy the products in those ads. Likewise, they are nearly six times more likely to purchase products they see advertised on social media.
  2. Tribals
    This group is hyperconnected, often through multiple devices. Thirteen percent of consumers are Tribals; they are both heavily influenced by and strong influencers of others through social media. Tribals are the most likely to use the Internet to plan shopping trips and are influenced by Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr and other highly visual properties.
  3. Personals
    Personals, as described above, are mobile-savvy users who love their phone but are increasingly cutting out the middle man when it comes to connecting with friends, preferring direct messaging to social media. In addition to heavy messaging apps usage and low social media usage, Personals are 2.3 times more likely than the average smartphone owner to say they would be interested in receiving ads on their phone and 60% more likely to say they would actually purchase products advertised on their phone.
  4. Pragmatists
    Pragmatists make up about 18% of consumers and are mobile professionals who use their phones primarily to stay on top of work and home. Pragmatists are open to advertising on their phones, but they need to get something in return. Otherwise, this segment is less likely than average to purchase items they see advertised on their phone.
  5. Browsers
    At 24%, the largest group of consumers is Browsers, those that are still learning about all the things they can do with their phone, primarily browsing the mobile web and consuming a bit of news. Among Browsers who use social media, only 3% say they are likely to purchase products that they see advertised on social sites. Even fewer Browsers say they are likely to purchase products they see advertised on their phone.
  6. Occasionals
    Some 11% of smartphone users are Occasionals, those that use their smartphones mostly for making calls, playing a game and checking the weather, while the myriad of additional features go unused. Occasionals are much more receptive to digital campaigns on their personal computer and more open to native advertising in print newspapers and e-readers.
  7. Talkers
    Mobile use among this group is fairly light. At 13% of consumers, Talkers use their phone mainly for verbal conversations and the occasional video phone call. As such, digital and mobile campaigns are most effective with this group primarily to supplement campaigns run in traditional media.