Smartphone proliferation drives surge in non-voice communications

Changes in the way people will use their mobile phones will continue this 2010. With phones (particularly smartphones) providing more functionalities and innovations, phones will no longer just be for voice but more for non-voice communications as well. Internet capabilities and mobile applications embedded to new smartphones nowadays is changing the the mobile market landscape.

Just recently, BIA/Kelsey with research partner ConStat reveals a rapid rise in mobile device usage for non-voice communications—text messages, e-mail and Internet access—driven primarily by the proliferation of smartphones.

Among mobile consumers surveyed in October for Mobile Market View, 18.5 percent searched the Internet for products or services in their local area, up from 15.6 percent in 2008, and 16.7 percent connected with a social network such as MySpace or Facebook, up from 9.6 percent in 2008.

The study also reveals a growing class of “heavy users” of non-voice modalities. For example, the percentage of users making more than 10 mobile Internet accesses per week continues to increase significantly, now representing over one-fifth of all mobile users. Among mobile users:

– 48.2 percent sent or received more than 10 text (SMS) messages per week
– 21 percent had more than 10 Internet accesses per week
– 20 percent sent or received more than 10 e-mails per week
– Mobile Local Advertising and Commerce

Mobile Market View also indicates use of mobile devices for commercial searches increased across the board in 2009. Of particular interest, searches for local products or services now exceed out-of-market searches by a wide margin. Among consumers using mobile devices:

– 18.5 percent searched the Internet for local products or services
– 15.9 percent obtained information about movies or other entertainment
– 13.3 percent obtained information about restaurants or bars
– 11.1 percent searched the Internet for products or services outside their local area
– 4 percent purchased a physical item that needed to be shipped (e.g., a book)
– 3 percent used a coupon from their mobile phone

In addition to consumer smartphone adoption, recent developments in the mobile marketplace—mobile-optimized Web sites, the rapid evolution and implementation of Google’s Android OS, and its planned acquisition of mobile ad network AdMob—will drive mobile Internet use and advertising growth.

Mobile Video
The survey also reveals usage of mobile devices for viewing or sending video has increased appreciably, with the highest level of traffic in user-generated videos. Among those surveyed for Mobile Market View, 7.9 percent watched or purchased a TV program or segment, 11.7 percent watched or purchased a music video or Internet video and 17.7 percent sent or received videos.

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