Smartphone owners are more likely to use their device for email than for making phone calls, according to new research by Adobe.

The 2013 Digital Publishing Report, which surveyed 1,003 18-54 year olds, found that 79% of smartphone owners use their device for email compared to 78% who use it for making phone calls.

This serves to further underline the importance of optimising email campaigns for smartphones. 

We’ve previously reported on data which shows that up to a third of emails are opened on mobile devices, yet data included in our Email Marketing Census reveals that 39% of businesses have no strategy in place for mobile optimisation and a further 37% said their strategy was ‘basic’.

Adobe’s report found that Facebook is the third most popular smartphone activity (58%), followed by listening to music (52%) and playing games (48%).

Interestingly, just one in five respondents (20%) said they use their device for shopping, however this rises to 44% on tablet.

The report also offers an interesting comparison of the most common shopping activities carried out on smartphone and tablet.

Browsing products and comparing prices are the most popular activities on both devices, but tablet users are twice as likely to make a purchase.

In contrast, smartphone shoppers tend to use their device for researching product information rather than actually making a purchase.

We’ve previously highlighted research which shows that security concerns, screen size and connectivity are the main barriers to shopping on smartphone, and unfortunately retailers are restricted in what they can do to overcome these problems.

In general though, simplicity is the key to designing a good mobile-optimised site, as it need to be easy for users to navigate on a small screen. This is a topic we’ve previously looked at in a post evaluating the mobile checkouts of the UK’s top 20 retailers.

Adobe’s report also looks at the use of mobile apps. Two thirds of smartphone shoppers (68%) and 70% of tablet shoppers said they generally only download apps from their favourite stores, while shopping apps were also found to be a good way of building brand loyalty (38% on tablet vs. 42% on smartphone).

Looking at usability, access to money saving offers was seen as the most important functionality on tablet (52%) and smartphone (67%).

However, on smartphone a store locator tool was seen as the second most important function (60%), while tablet shoppers value the ability to view images of slideshows and images of products from different angles.

It’s important for retailers to note that shoppers expect different experiences on tablet and smartphones, so the devices should not be lumped together under a single mobile strategy.