Over 4/10 Europeans are smartphone owners, 1/5 take pictures of products in store


Comscore and Telefonica (the European telecoms giant that owns 02) have come out with a study about the use of smartphones and the Internet in Europe.

The research tells us that in the UK (48%) and Spain (48%) almost half of us are now smartphone (as opposed to ‘feature phone’) owners.   Across the five biggest EU states, the average is 42%.

Other key findings are as follows:

Android leads in phone sales, Apple dominates in mobile web traffic

Who is bigger, Android or Apple?  That depends how you look at it.

In terms of smartphone ownership, there are certainly more Android (28%) phones and iPhones (21% of the smartphone market).   Indeed phones running Google’s mobile operating system are on the verge of overtaking Symbian (i.e. current and previous generation Nokia).

However in terms of actual mobile operating systems, Apple iOS is in front, 30% to 27%.  This is because Apple’s mobile operating system is also on later generation iPod Touches and of course iPads.

Crucially Apple devices account for 62% of mobile digital traffic in the big EU states compared to 22% for Android.   Personally I think that is because someone walking into a shop wanting to buy “a phone” is now likely to be steered towards one of the cheaper Android devices.   However someone buying an iPhone is doing so consciously and at least in part because of the array of apps on offer.

That’s a stat worth bearing in mind when skewing mobile campaigns towards different devices.   It is also worth noting recent US stats showing that the iPhone 4S helped Apple overtake Android in the American market in Q4.

Finally, while the Internet in Europe is now female dominated, Comscore says that most smartphone (56.3%) owners are men.   There is evidence from other research that Android is very male biased, while iPhones have a more even male / female spread.

21% of UK web traffic to family sites from mobiles

The share of web traffic from mobile devices is still relatively small, 5% (7.7% in the UK).   However, remember that % is skewed by the amount of web traffic coming from office based PCs.


Also the picture is very different when you look at different categories.   In the UK, a quarter of traffic to automotive sites came from smartphones, while tablets and phones together accounted for 21%of visits to family and parenting websites (this includes kids sites like Disney).

Target smartphone and tablet owners in the evening 

As the above table shows, PC traffic is highest during the day, while smartphone and (especially) tablet traffic peaks in the evening, as well as during peak commuter hours (8am and 6pm).   Something to bear in mind if running a campaign targeted at users of mobile only networks such as Instagram.

Shoppers use their phones while in store

Research in the summer showed that 1/4 of online shopping conversations actually happen in-store l.  In fact, over a fifth of European smartphone owners have taken a product photo in-store, while 1/10 sent it to their family and friends.

Surprisingly, given the mixed evidence about the adoption rate of QR codes, 10.9% scanned a barcode in store.   Meanwhile 14.9% of German and 13.2% of UK smartphone owners claim to have actually scanned a QR or barcode of any description – it doesn’t actually say whether these scans were successful or not.

Finally, over one in twenty  (6.4%) smartphone owners have compared produce prices while in a store, a stat that is only going to increase given apps such as the Amazon price comparison one, where you scan a product in store and get the equivalent Amazon price

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