Comscore’s 2012 Mobile Future in Focus Report – ten take outs

Last week Comscore released a major report around the mobile Internet, Mobile Future in Focus.  A lot of that has already been covered by the major social media sites, so because I didn’t get my act together in putting my post up soon enough, I’ve summarised ten key findings from the report.

Essentially they show that across all markets, but in the UK in particular, mobile devices are now the norm and not the exception when it comes to consumers going online, something that should be front of mind for all marketers.

It shows that more affluent 25-44 year olds are typical smartphone owners and it shows that mobile devices are becoming an essential shopping companion when shoppers are in bricks and mortars stores.

1 – A majority of American (55.2%) and British (56.6%) mobile phone users now use mobile media, defined as browsing the web, downloading content or accessing apps.   Note however how far ahead Japan is, with three quarters accessing mobile online media.

2 – In fact, the UK (as well as Spain) has now passed the smartphone tipping point, with over half (51%) of mobile owners being smartphone users.    As long ago as May 2010, smartphone sales passed feature phone sales (as opposed to ownership) in the UK

3 – The UK is also ahead when it comes to web traffic from mobile devices (9.5%), compared to the US (8.2%), Australia (7.7%) and Japan (7.1%).  The latter figure suggests that though Japanese mobile phone users are more likely to go online in absolute terms (see stat one), UK mobile users access the web more heavily

Note that these figures account for all web traffic, including people sitting at work.   I’d guess you’d arrive at higher figures if you looked at people accessing the Internet outside of the workplace

4 – Certain media channels in particular are getting a lot of their traffic from mobile devices.  Comscore tells us that in December 17% of movie visitors reached the BBC through a combination of app and browser usage

5 – The top selling devices in both the US and the EU5 are the iPhone4 and the iPhone3GS (the iPhone4S is no three in the US and no 5 in the EU5)

Of course overall Android has a higher share of smartphones than Apple iPhones (31% vs 21% in Europe).   However, as I’ve posted previously if you are looking at handset sales you are looking at the wrong thing, you need to look at user behaviour, and previous research has shown that 61% of European mobile web traffic comes from Apple devices

6 – One reason for that could be that the ubiquity of Android phones means that if you walk into your local phones4u and ask for a “phone” you will be steered towards one of the many lower end Android devices.   Indeed, the cost of the monthly service was the second most important factor among European smartphone purchasers, behind network quality.

7 – In the EU5, most smartphone owners are still male (55.7% vs 44.3% – in the US it is a more even 51/49).   There has been evidence in the past to show that Android phones have more of a male bias than iPhones

8 – If you are running a mobile marketing campaign, don’t make the mistake of assuming your audience is all teens.  In both the US and EU5, smartphone ownership is heaviest among the 25-44 year old audience possibly due to the price of buying a handset and possibly due to the fact that a lot of workplaces  offer smartphones as their company phone

9 – A lot of attention in 2011 went on the mobile photo network Instagram (now arguably the largest mobile only social network in the world), and for a lot of US and European consumers the mobile is now their primary camera   In the States 74% and in the EU5 84% took photos with their phone.

The % who sent emails (31%) and accessed social media (26%) via their mobiles in Europe is lower, but I’d imagine significant variations if broken down country by country.  However it is worth noting that in absolute numbers, 25.5 million Europeans access a blog or social network via their smartphones every day

10 – Though it bases this statement largely on US figures, Comscore tells us that smartphones are “poised to become consumers’ favourite shopping companion in 2012.”   One in five U.S. smartphone owners took a picture of a product while in store and nearly the same number texted or called family or friends about a specific product.

Women in particular were more likely to make shopping a ‘social’ experience, with 24% taking pictures, while men were more likely to use their phones for information gathering, such as scanning a barcode or comparing prices.

Finally Comscore has a stat about mobile phone owners who scanned QR codes – in the US it was 20.3% and in the UK 12.3%.  Of course, that stat doesn’t tell us anything about their experience when they scanned it (or indeed, whether they scanned successfully)

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