Consumers in the UK who use their smartphone to help find out more about products or services will tend to do so with the help of a search engine app rather than an app supplied by a particular brand, a key survey has revealed.

The survey – by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) – identified 68% of those who own a smartphone as favouring search engine apps when looking for more information on a possible purchase. The corresponding figure for those preferring a brand app for such product and service research stood at just 37%.

The survey also identified that the types of information being probed mostly by those using their mobile as a search tool are promotional offers and discounts (50%), further details regarding a particular brand (40%), and possible venues for dining out (27%).

Commenting on the survey’s findings, DMA Mobile Marketing Council member, and ITV’s head of mobile, Richard Hicks, said:

“This research is essential reading for marketers to understand how and why consumers are using smartphones to search for information online.”

Interestingly, the survey also revealed that while mobile is clearly a growing web search tool, it is yet to completely overshadow the role in this area played by the traditional desktop computer – as many commentators might perhaps have expected.

According to the survey’s findings, although web-enabled smartphones account for over half of all mobiles owned, 60% of mobile owners would still rather carry out a search using a desktop – compared with only 15% who say they prefer to use a smartphone.