Consumer Analytics

The Urban-Rural Divide for App Use

by David Mitchel | Mar. 16, 2017

The recent presidential election served as a motivation for the media to focus on differences between urban and rural residents. With use of consumer technology, urban and rural residents behave differently. A great example is app use; a higher proportion of urban dwellers use social, location, and mobility apps than people living in a suburban or rural region.

Demographic factors are often connected, not isolated. When the urban-suburban-rural divide is discussed, it’s important to realize that these populations differ in age (urban is generally younger and tech adoption is impacted by young age), education levels, income, and other factors.

In the chart below, 4 of the 5 apps cited as most used followed a similar pattern. Pinterest was the exception. Population density didn’t greatly impact whether it was cited. In this case, being female was a much more significant predictor variable, and younger females were the most likely to cite it as a most used app.

Grubhub served as the best example of the urban-rural divide. It wasn’t surprising to see differences in use, as there are often more choices for food delivery in urban areas as compared to suburban and rural areas.

The Uber and Lyft use cases served as the best examples to show associations in demographic factors. Young, unmarried urbanites were more likely to cite Uber and Lyft as most used apps. One of the key use cases for Uber/Lyft is safe transportation after nights out at bars/nightclubs or parties at private residences, and this behavior is more commonplace among younger, unmarried urbanites.

The population density of where a person lives can impact their use of technology, but often where they live is connected to other demographic factors that also serve to influence their choices and behaviors.

For more insight on SoLoMo Apps, see the 360 View Update Mobile First: SoLoMo App Usage Trends.

 Most Used SoLoMo Apps by Urban Density 

David Mitchel

David Mitchel

Research Analyst

David Mitchel is part of the Parks Associates Consumer Analytics research team. He studies market and consumer trends in a number of areas, including Access & Entertainment, Connected CE, Energy Management, Connected Home Systems, Digital Media, Digital Health, and Mobile Devices.

Prior to working at Parks Associates, David spent 5 years working in a variety of marketing roles, gaining experience in a variety of industries. He earned a BA in Communication from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management.

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