Maslow’s hierarchy of needs receives a mobile overhaul

18 Apr 2017

Image: Frederic Muller/Shutterstock

Mobile-first is the default position for a growing number of internet users, but just how attached are we to our smartphones and tablets?

Millennials love mobile but, according to a new report, that’s hardly a novel situation. General adoption of internet devices on the go is now the mainstream way of thinking.

ComScore’s latest report, nicely named Mobile’s Hierarchy of Needs, includes some fascinating bits of data, divided over nine global markets (Brazil, Canada, China, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Spain, UK and US).

For example, two-thirds of internet consumption in Spain is done on mobile. This rises to three-quarters in Mexico, with more than nine in ten turning to mobile in Indonesia.

Interestingly, when you dive down into these figures, the navigation of the internet through apps is extensive. Each of the markets saw more than 82pc of mobile use of the internet orchestrated this way, with Chinese mobile users using apps almost exclusively (99pc).

Digital Hierarchy Of Needs

Infographic: ComScore

Digital Hierarchy Of Needs

Infographic: ComScore

Indeed, 2016 was a landmark year for this aspect of the digital age, according to the study.

For example, US mobile minutes online reached 1bn in the full month of March – the first time this had happened.

By December, the UK saw its ratio of internet users fall away from desktop to a major degree.

The breakdown of mobile users, though, is perhaps the most interesting aspect of the infographic.

For example, in the UK, females are far more likely to watch YouTube videos over smartphones and tablets – that’s across all three age groups: 18-34, 35-44, and 45 and above.

When it comes to the hierarchy, though, recognisable themes emerge. At the physiological level (the bottom tier), users go for health services, clothing and food.

Above that (in the safety category), banking, weather and career progression feature.

When it comes to love and belonging, personal is important. “From romance to family connections, mobile communication has created more avenues to create, maintain and develop human relationships,” reads the report.

For esteem, it’s all about news and social networking. “Social media has always been seen as a major mobile category and global figures confirm this, with this category accounting from between 20-40pc of all minutes spent on mobile devices,” it reads.

Then, at the self-actualisation level – the pinnacle of modern, on-the-go internet needs – travel is the main area of interest.

Click the infographic below to view it in full screen.

Digital | Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

Digital hierarchy of needs. Infographic: ComScore

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic