A decade ago, we used our mobile phones to make phone calls and perhaps to send text messages. Some advanced users checked their email and maybe did occasional tasks online.
Smartphones and tablets have changed these habits dramatically. But how, exactly?
Here’s a brief breakdown of the most important mobile usage trends:
- Mobile web use is exploding: A majority of U.S. mobile users now access browsers and apps. According to Nielsen, the minutes spent per month on apps more than doubled from March 2011 to March 2012. Many of our most time-consuming mobile activities — games, social networks, and music — are accessed through apps. Time spent on the mobile web was basically flat.
- And the most popular mobile activities are becoming even more popular: Social networking and games are the two largest categories of daily app consumption. According to comScore, 37% of all U.S. mobile users accessed social networks on their phones in May, while 34% of all U.S. mobile users played games. These are double digit increases over two years ago.
- The shopping process is being revolutionised: U.S. mobile commerce is expected to hit $10 billion this year, up from $6 billion in 2010 — but that’s only a small part of the story. According to Nielsen, 89% of smartphone owners have used their phone while shopping in stores in a host of different ways, most notably to access digital marketing campaigns, conduct research, and make mobile payments.
- And, of course, users are consuming more content than ever before: Digital consumers read more books a year on average than their print-only counterparts, the percentage of U.S. mobile users listening to music on their phone has more than doubled in less than three years, over 60% of smartphone and tablet owners access news on their devices, and mobile video consumption is experiencing rapid growth.
- There is plenty more growth to come: There are six dumbphones out there for every smartphone, and smartphones have penetrated only half of the U.S.
In full, the report looks at:
- The most popular mobile activities: We take a look at usage patterns around social networking, gaming, email, weather, search, and maps.
- How people use their phones to shop: We analyse how consumers are using their mobile devices at every step of the shopping process
- The growth of the mobile web: We examine usage data of both web browsers and apps, looking at new developments and trends
- How users are consuming content on their mobile devices: We take a look at how mobile users are consuming books, video, news, and music on their mobile devices.