The U.S. poultry industry has not only adopted smartphones for email, texting and web surfing but also is heavily engaged in social media websites, based on a survey of the WATT-Rennier Poultry Confidence Index panel.

Following are highlights of the survey conducted in August:

  • Sixty-eight percent of PCI respondents use a smartphone, with Blackberry usage at 30% leading other smartphones.
  • Thirty-two percent of respondents do not use a smartphone.
  • Business email tops the smartphone usage purposes at 91%, while 77% of respondents use smartphones for business texting.
  • Thirty-nine percent of respondents use smartphones to track pricing data, and 32% use smartphones to access social media.
  • Leading social websites included LinkedIn (97%) and AnimalAgNet.com (91%).

Smartphone usage is expanding   

Smartphones have revolutionized the way consumers and business professionals use phones, and poultry industry members are no exception, according to the survey. Only a short time ago we used cell phones solely to make calls. That is no longer the case. The smartphone has put a mini-computer in your pocket or purse.

Today, poultry industry people use smartphones to read their email, edit reports, look up market data, research a topic and much more. Apps – which first appeared with the iPhone – have allowed us to access and process information like never before. You can now buy items on eBay, find restaurants or post to your Twitter account. Marketers have jumped on the bandwagon to provide apps that inform and engage their target consumers.

As a researcher, I’m always interested in learning more about the habits and practices of those I engage with on a regular basis. In addition, allied suppliers can benefit from knowing how to best reach and engage their customers. With this objective, we recently asked our panel from the WATT-Rennier Poultry Confidence Index to tell us about their primary business phone.

Blackberry tops in usage among PCI group  

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Blackberry was the most-preferred operating system followed by iPhone. Google’s Android was a distant third. Almost one-third of these respondents said they did not have a smartphone. This seems high to me, although I lack any comparative data from other industries.

This dependence on the Blackberry is not unusual given it has been touted as a secure phone for business. However, if the poultry industry follows recent consumer trends as predicted by eMarketer, we may expect Blackberry to give way to Android in the near future.

How poultry industry people use smartphones   

It’s not only important to understand what smartphones the poultry industry uses, but how they are using them. Nine of 10 smartphone users sent and received business email on these devices with texting (both business and personal), personal email and web surfing were also listed as common activities. The tracking of financial and pricing data, as well as accessing social networks, were also common smartphone uses.

Although not restricted to smartphone usage, nearly every respondent said they used or accessed LinkedIn at least once a month. A high percentage also visited a number of other social websites like WATT’s Animal AgNet, Google+, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. These online gathering places would seem to be an ideal place to reach the poultry industry.

It’s clear that the poultry industry has adopted smartphones for common practices like email, texting and web surfing. Furthermore, usage of social media websites – whether on the phone or computer – has been readily accepted. It will be important to track this usage over time to see how habits and usage change.

Click here to participate in the Poultry Confidence Index panel and receive advance reports of survey results, or simply copy the following link into your browser: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2ZT9LXR