From communicating with friends to hailing a ride to ordering groceries, smartphones are a vital part of consumers’ everyday lives. In the U.S., smartphone users spend an average of 5 hours per day on their devices. And they’re ubiquitous with roughly 2.4 billion smartphone users globally according to a recent report by eMarketer.

At Branded, we have observed that our community members are increasingly turning to their smartphones to take surveys. Approximately 1 in 5 Branded community members use their smartphones more often than any other device to take surveys.

As panelists increasingly move from using PCs to mobile devices to take online surveys, it is important to understand the implications. Researchers from the Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan Ann Arbor conducted a comparison of online surveys taken on PC versus mobile as a way of evaluating the impact of smartphones on response quality.

The study looked at a general population sample and respondents were asked to complete a questionnaire on both smartphone and PC. Overall, the researchers found that respondents were at least as likely to provide conscientious answers and disclose sensitive information when using smartphones as when using PCs. And they did this even though they were more likely to multitask and more likely to be around other people when answering the questions when using a smartphone.

In fact, the study found that smartphone respondents were less likely than PC respondents to provide unacceptably short responses to open-ended questions. Smartphone respondents typed out longer answers likely because of the similar format to texting.

While distractions and multitasking don’t impact data quality, survey design does have an effect the quality of responses gathered from smartphone respondents. The study tested questions with response options displayed as a small slider handle and a date-picker wheel. When using a smartphone with a smaller screen size than a PC, respondents had more trouble using their fingers to accurately move the slider or use the date-picker wheel to the intended values.