Smartphone usage is only growing and it’s a fact that retailers need to get use to in order to gain the attention of their customers.

A US study from Exact Target shows that 41 per cent of country’s population own a smartphone and 48 per cent own a feature phone. It’s only 11 per cent of the US population that don’t own a mobile phone.

The study also revealed that while Blackberry pioneered the development of smartphones, the industry landscape is changing rapidly. The most popular smartphones owned are the Android (33 per cent), iPhone (25 per cent) and Blackberry (19 per cent).

“The smartphone has become a modern day Swiss Army knife, putting marketers not only in a multi-channel environment, but a multi-purpose environment as well,” the survey said.

Five of the most common functions of a smartphone were calling, texting, email, interent and Facebook, which was the only social media outlet used by a majority of smartphone owners on a daily basis.

But smartphones are not longer exclusive to these functions. In fact, it’s fast becoming shopping comparison tools while consumers are out in a bricks-and-mortar store. This relatively new trend is what retailers need to take note of as 20 per cent of smartphone owners report having compared prices while shopping at a physical store and the utilisation of this is universal for both men and women in all age brackets.

Also, 16 per cent of smartphone users have admitted to making a purchase as a result of a marketing message they received on their smartphone. Meanwhile, 55 per cent said they’ve made at least one purchase based on a mobile message report acting on an email.

“Without question, email is the most effective mobile purchase trigger. Marketing messages delivered through email and read on a smartphone have driven more consumers to purchase than any other method,” Exact Target said.