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Nov 6, 2015 8:00:00 AM

Research Reveals Huge Opportunity for Location Permissions in Apps

Posted by Skyhook

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83% percent of app users say location is crucial to their app experiences, but nearly 40% are hesitant to share their location. These were key findings of an independent consumer study, commissioned by Skyhook, the leading global first party mobile location network. To view the infographic, click here.

We set out to examine the extent to which people turn location services on or off for their apps and to understand why many smartphone users choose not to take advantage of the benefits of location. The study revealed an industry dichotomy: the majority of app owners say that location services improve their app experience, but many still resist sharing their location details.

The study also highlighted the significant opportunity for app owners to add value to their apps by encouraging users to turn location services on. For example, it revealed that one-third of weather app users do not activate location services. This is surprising, given that enabling locations services allows these apps to deliver the most relevant weather data to the user. Social networking, photo and video apps (other popular app categories) similarly have low adoption of location services – 38 percent, 18 percent and 16 percent respectively – revealing the potential to add value to these experiences by getting users to turn location services on, allowing for the automatic tagging of location in photos and videos, among other benefits.

“This data suggests that there’s a huge and largely untapped opportunity to create value from location services that many app publishers and advertisers could be taking full advantage of,” said Skyhook CEO Jim Crowley. “Ultimately, it’s all about the payoff to consumers. Users need to be informed about the ways in which location services add meaningful value to their app experience, and educated about how their privacy is being managed – so that the critical benefits outweigh any attendant concerns.”

Why People Don’t Turn Location Services On

The study found that nearly 40 percent of app users hesitate to share location data, with 18 percent turning location services off for all apps, and 50 percent of those users named privacy concerns as the top reason; 23 percent didn’t see the value of location data and 19 percent cited battery drain concerns.

Out of the nearly 20 percent of app users who turn off location services for all of their apps, 63 percent have done so because of battery drain concerns; 45 percent called out privacy concerns as the main reason; 23 percent don’t see the value of giving their location data and one-fifth switch location services off in an effort to avoid advertising.

What People Want from Location Services

In exchange for disclosing their location, consumers expect real benefits from their apps. Half of all app users expect an accurate location, relevant app content and targeted offers or coupons once location data is shared – and 34 percent of smartphone users expect personalized communications.

Additionally, the study also found that:

  • 25 percent keep location services on in order to get offers and notifications
  • Only three percent of app users would delete an app because of wrong location data


The study was conducted by Research Now, which, between July 9 and July 15, 2015, surveyed 1,000 mobile app users. To read about Skyhook’s best practices for getting consumers to turn locations services turned on, download the guide here.