This blog post was written by our guest blogger Mark Dengler, President & Owner of Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) in Baldwinsville, NY.

Surveys are a great way to get feedback from customers and one of the three most common modes of conducting a survey is via the telephone. However, statistics show a continuing trend that continues to change the way traditional telephone surveys are conducted.  Currently, telesurveyors call a person’s home to interview the respondent. These household phone numbers are tied to permanent “landlines” in the home. But statistics show a significant portion of the population is ditching their landlines in favor of other communication tools, including cell phones. This population trend continues to grow every year through 2012.

A few notes from our 2012 Market Research Trends blog post:

  • In 2007, the number of cell phone only households surpassed the number of landline only households.
  • 25% of households had no landline service and only cell phone service (2% of households had no telephone service of any type).  For certain subgroups in the population, the numbers were higher.
  • This has enormous implications for the administration of telephone surveys, namely: decreased incidence rates; disproportionate demographic representation in sampling; and decreasing credibility within the market research community and many clients.

Overall, this percentage of non-landline users has grown by three to four percentage points per year, and the trend doesn’t seem to be slowing. Statistics show that the majority of people who have dropped their landline are in lower income-brackets (46 percent have a household income of $50,000 or less), are younger (64 percent of decision makers in wireless substitution homes are in the 18- to 34-year-old age range, compared to 30 percent of the US) and have smaller household sizes of one to two people. What does ditching of landlines mean to market research firms? It means we need to find new ways to reach these individuals including use of online surveys, mobile surveys, the development of research panels, and purchases of expensive cell phone call lists.

landline telephones market research

Ultimately it’s up to your research consultant to work around the barrier and deliver you the most comprehensive and budget-friendly data possible.  Are you interested in using a telephone survey to answer questions for your business but you are unsure how to best reach your audience(s)?  Contact our Business Development Director, Sandy Baker, at 315-635-9802 or email her at