Brief • 3 min Read
Location sharing features are present in almost every device connected to the internet, and a majority of users utilize these features to accomplish certain tasks. However, a notable sum of users see location sharing as more than a convenient tool, according to a new study conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of the New York Times.
Four in five (79%) U.S. adults report that they have location sharing features activated on the devices that they use at least some of the time, with two in ten (16%) reporting that they always have location-sharing features activated. Only 10% of U.S. adults never have location sharing features activated. Over half (54%) of those who have location sharing features activated on their device say they do so to accomplish specific tasks, like having an item delivered to them or to get directions.
That said, those who use apps that center around location sharing features (e.g., Find My Friends, Glympse, My Location) more frequently view location sharing features as having utility beyond accomplishing tasks than other app users.
Almost half (48%) of those who use location sharing apps that activate location sharing services report wanting to share their location with other people they know as a reason to activate those features (vs. 27% of all U.S. adults that have location sharing features activated). Two in five (37%) report that they feel safer when they have location sharing features activated (vs. 21% of all U.S. adults that have location sharing features activated).
While most people who have location sharing features activated view those features as a tool to get tasks done, these findings indicate that if apps that center specifically around location sharing become more mainstream, location sharing features could play an even more prominent role in social life.
This survey was conducted online in the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of The New York Times from July 29, 2022 to August 1, 2022 among 1,054 respondents. Figures for age, sex, race and ethnicity, education, region, household income, and propensity to be online have been weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions within the US population. Respondents for this survey were selected from a pool of potential respondents who have agreed to participate in The Harris Poll’s online research. For this study, the sample data is accurate to within +/- 4.0 percentage points using a 95% confidence level. For more information, please contact Madelyn Franz, or Andrew Laningham.
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