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 rose nearly 54 percent compared with 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).
“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,” says 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 coworkers, 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.
At any given time, general contractors are the largest users of smartphones (82 percent) and tablets (30 percent). Of all contractors, electricians considered checking specs (34 percent) and gathering information for bids (26 percent) of greater value than the rest. Some general contractors (32 percent) said that they believe using technology devices will allow them to ultimately cut overall costs at work.
EMA conducted the Connecting with Contractors study among 200 U.S. general contractors, electricians, plumbers and HVAC specialists.