SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Contractors’ use of smartphones while on the job jumped 35 percent from last year, according to new research from EMA Contractors, a specialty group at Eric Mower + Associates. While the use of tablets (i.e., iPad) rose nearly 54 percent over last year (overall, 22 percent of contractors are using tablets), most contractors (68 percent) said they use smartphones as part of their workday.

Of those surveyed, 40 percent of contractors said they use smartphones when making purchasing decisions, making it second to desktop computers back at the office. More than half (56 percent) of respondents think smartphones are the fastest growing technology device in the building and construction space, followed in second place by tablets (nearly 20 percent).

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“Smartphone and tablet use among contractors on the jobsite continues its dramatic rise and marketers that are not focusing resources in this area are missing an important opportunity,” said John O’Hara, EMA partner and leader of EMA Contractors. “At a minimum, marketers should be looking at developing apps that help contractors do their job, websites that are optimized for mobile devices, and product literature that can be properly used on tablets.”

According to the survey, increased technology device usage is being driven mostly by convenience, as smartphones and tablets allow contractors to stay connected with co-workers, distributors, and vendors/subcontractors; increase productivity; and save time while on the job. Being able to check specifications, compare products and prices were also important. Another driver is the need for contractors to have more information available to them quickly.

EMA conducted the study among general contractors, HVAC contractors, plumbers, and electricians.

Publication date: 4/22/2013