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Business Trends – August 26, 2010

No Landline? They Still Want Your Opinion

A national 2009 survey says 24.5 percent of all households are cell-phone only. | Photos: istockphoto.com

Local research companies, which rely heavily on telephone surveys, are adjusting their calling strategies to reach the many young people who use cell phones and have no landline at home.

During the last half of 2009, 24.5 percent of households nationally were CPOs — cell-phone only, according to a National Health Interview Survey. The survey indicates CPOs have been increasing by about 4.4 percent a year since 2007.

Hawaii-based SMS Research and QMark Research both say they are adding cell-phone numbers to their random samples to ensure that surveys reflect the entire population.

At SMS, 70 percent of surveys are conducted by telephone. SMS President Jim Dannemiller says he anticipated the growth of CPOs and began including cell phones in telephone surveys in 2006 but still has “trouble drawing complex samples,” because they’re based on geographical location and cell-phone prefixes can’t be identified to one specific location like land lines.

Dannemiller says landline owners tend to be more established people. “They’re older, they’re homeowners, usually who have owned a home for a long time,” he says.

At QMark, about 20 percent to 25 percent of all phone interviews are now conducted with CPOs and most of those are younger people, says QMark President Barbara Ankersmit. Previously, “our samples, through random-digit dialing of landlines, were really being skewed toward older people and we needed to represent all segments of the population.”

From March 2009 to March 2010, Hawaiian Telcom reported a 9.4 percent net loss in landlines. “Landline loss is neither a new nor a Hawaii-only trend,” says Ann Nishida, Hawaiian Telcom corporate communication senior manager. “Every company that provides landline service is experiencing this to some degree.”

"Five-O" by the Numbers

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