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About 1 in 5 smart-phone owners use check-in apps; Facebook top check-in service, study finds

May 13, 2011 | 12:26 pm


About one in five smart-phone owners use check-in services such as Foursquare, Gowalla or Facebook Places, according to the research firm ComScore.

In a study on the location-based social networking apps, ComScore found that about 16.7 million mobile subscribers in the U.S. used the check-in services on their phones in March 2011, representing about 17.6% of total smart-phone users.

ComScore also found that users of check-in services also displayed a "high propensity for mobile media usage," pulling up retail websites and shopping guides on their smart phones and tablet computers.

"Although still in their relative infancy, location-based mobile check-in services are seeing rather impressive adoption among smart-phone users," said Mark Donovan, ComScore's senior vice president of mobile. "The ability to interact with consumers on this micro-local level through special offers, deals and other incentives provides brands with the real-time opportunity to engage consumers through their mobile device."

Facebook Places is the most popular check-in service, said Sarah Radwanick, a ComScore spokeswoman.

"Facebook is the most popular social network and with people already using it for other things, it's really easy for them to check-in at a location," Radwanick said.

Of those who ComScore found to be using check-in services, 60% were between the ages of 18 and 34.

Almost half, 46.4% of check-in users had full-time jobs, which is slightly less than the percentage of total smart-phone users in the U.S. who are also employed full time -- 53.3%, ComScore said.


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Image: A screenshot of the Gowalla iPad app. Credit: Gowalla