Once upon a time, smartphones were mostly about connecting busy professionals with their email accounts while on the go. Now that smartphones have reached the mainstream consumer market, however, people are looking for more than just email access – and a surprisingly large number of smartphones hardly ever leave their owners’ homes.

According to a new study from Web analytics firm Compete, 74% of smartphone owners now primarily use their devices for personal reasons, and they often spent the most amount of time with the device at home.

As we noted last October, when they leave their homes, a lot of consumers with iPhones and phones that use Google’s Android operating system are now also using their devices to compare prices and look up reviews while they are out shopping. Compete looked a bit further into this market and found that more than 35% of consumers with smartphones would be interested in receiving coupons on their devices. Another 29% would like to be able to scan barcodes with their phones and get more information about the product as well as access to coupons and other promotions.

Location-Aware Coupons

While it doesn’t come as a surprise that a lot of consumers would like to receive coupons, one surprising result from Competes report is that 21% of respondents would like to get SMS alerts with promotions when they walk by a store. Another 15% also would like to receive ads via SMS. Chances are that a lot of marketers would like to offer these kinds of location-aware ads and coupons that catch a consumer while they are already out shopping and close to a retailer. At the same time, though, most modern smartphones don’t allow developers to create these kind of applications. The iPhone, for example, doesn’t (yet) allow developers to run application in the background, which would be necessary if a developer wanted to create a service that could send out ads via SMS based on your location.