Digital market researcher comScore (NASDAQ: SCOR) 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.
Released today, Feb. 23, the report highlights insights primarily from mobile markets in the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, Japan, and Canada.
Key findings highlighted in 2012 Mobile Future in Focus include:
1. Smartphones Gain Adoption Among ‘Early Majority’, Driving Mobile Media Consumption
Nearly 42 percent of all U.S. mobile subscribers now use smartphones, along with 44.0 percent of mobile users across the EU5 (comprised of 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-percent threshold in many markets, supported by the proliferation of high-speed networks and increased public WiFi availability.
2. 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 percent of the market. In the EU5, Android saw similarly significant gains, unseating market leader Symbian in 3 out of the 5 European markets measured.
3. 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.
4. ‘Smart Shoppers’ Disrupt Traditional Retail as Smartphone Enters Brick-and-Mortar Stores
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 1 in 5 smartphone users scanned product barcodes and nearly 1 in 8 compared prices on their phone while in a store.
5. Mobile Devices Fuel Social Networking On-The-Go, Driving Real-Time Online Interaction
The report says 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 December 2011, 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.
6. 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 7 years to reach the same. By the end of 2011, nearly 15 percent of U.S. mobile users also had tablets – a trend seen across other markets as well.