comScore’s 2012 Mobile Future in Focus Report
Gail Chiasson, North American Editor
comScore Inc., Reston, Virginia-based company that measures the digital world, has released the 2012 Mobile Future in Focus report.
This annual report examines the mobile and connected device landscape, covering several mobile markets measured by comScore, through an exploration of key trends driving smartphone adoption growth, mobile media usage in categories such as social networking and retail, mobile ecosystem dynamics, and shifts in multi-device digital media consumption in 2011.
The report highlights insights primarily from mobile markets in the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, Japan, and Canada.
“2011 proved to be a groundbreaking year for the mobile industry, with smartphones hitting the mainstream, tablets emerging as a formidable fourth screen, and consumers increasingly integrating mobile behaviors into their lifestyles,” says Mark Donovan, comScore senior vice- president of mobile. “As the industry continues to innovate and more consumers look to multiple devices and platforms to consume digital media, we expect the mobile and connected device landscape to be shaken up even further in 2012. As mobile channels present a more personal, social, and ubiquitous experience to consumers, advertisers and publishers have an opportunity to better engage target audiences, given an understanding of how to connect and leverage the unique characteristics of these emerging platforms.”
Key findings highlighted in 2012 Mobile Future in Focus include:
- Smartphones Gain Adoption Among ‘Early Majority’, Driving Mobile Media Consumption:
Nearly 42% of all U.S. mobile subscribers now use smartphones, along with 44% of mobile users across the EU5 (ie. France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK). Mobile media use – defined as browsing the mobile web, accessing applications, or downloading content – saw increased growth as a result, surpassing the 50% threshold in many markets, supported by the proliferation of high-speed networks and increased public WiFi availability.
- Smartphone Platform Wars Intensify As Android and Apple Take the Lead in Most Markets:
The Google Android and Apple iOS smartphone platforms emerged as the leaders of the U.S. smartphone market in 2011, with Android just a few points shy of capturing half of the smartphone market and iOS accounting for nearly 30% of the market. In the EU5, Android saw similarly significant gains, unseating market leader Symbian in three out of the five European markets measured.
- Surge in Mobile App Usage Shapes a Dual Mobile Browsing Experience, Fueling Category Growth:
In 2011, both the U.S. and EU5 saw the growth in mobile app use exceed the growth in mobile browser use, leading to both markets seeing the same percentage of their mobile audience use both apps and browsers to access mobile media. Health ranked as the fastest-growing mobile media category in the U.S. in 2011, followed by Retail and other commerce-related categories such as Electronic Payments and Auction Sites.
- Mobile Retail Information Leads to Emergence of Smartphone Shopping Behaviors:
More than half of the U.S. smartphone population used their phone to perform retail research while inside a store in 2011, illustrating the emergence of savvy smartphone shoppers who bring online shopping behaviors in-store – a trend seen in other markets as well. At the end of 2011, nearly one in five smartphone users scanned product barcodes and nearly one in eight compared prices on their phone while in a store.
- Mobile Devices Fuel Social Networking On-The-Go, Driving Real-Time Online Interaction:
64.2 million U.S. smartphone users and 48.4 million EU5 smartphone users accessed social networking sites or blogs on their mobile devices at least once in Dec./11, with more than half of these mobile social networking users accessing social media almost every day. While mobile social networking users showed the highest propensity to read posts from people they knew personally, more than half of those in the U.S. and nearly half in the EU5 also reported reading posts from brands, organizations, and events.
- Mobile Connectivity and Connected Devices Encourage Cross-Platform Digital Media Consumption among ‘Digital Omnivores’:
Tablets quickly rose in popularity in 2011, taking less than two years to account for nearly 40 million tablets in use among U.S. mobile users and outpacing smartphones which took seven years to reach the same. By the end of 2011, nearly 15% of U.S. mobile users also had tablets – a trend seen across other markets as well.