The proliferation of smartphones is increasing the propensity of consumers to use nonvoice communication, a study by BIA/Kelsey finds.
Results from the latest report of Mobile Market View, a consumer study of
adult U.S. mobile phone users conducted by BIA/Kelsey with research partner
ConStat, found a rapid rise in mobile device usage for nonvoice communications-text
messages, e-mail and Internet access-driven primarily by the proliferation of
Among mobile consumers surveyed in October for the report, 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 found a growing class of "heavy users" of nonvoice
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, and 20 percent sent or received
more than 10 e-mails per week.
Results also indicate that the 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, and 13.3 percent obtained information about restaurants or bars.
Eleven percent searched the Internet for products or services outside their
local area, while 4 percent purchased a physical item that needed to be shipped
(e.g., a book), and 3 percent used a coupon from their mobile phone.
"This third wave of our Mobile Market View study confirms several key trends
taking shape in the rapidly evolving mobile advertising space," said Steve
Marshall, director of research and consulting for BIA/Kelsey. "Not the
least among these trends is that mobile is quickly developing into a viable
platform for local commercial activity."
Michael Boland, program director for Mobile Local Media at BIA/Kelsey, said
in addition to consumer smartphone adoption, recent developments in the mobile
marketplace-mobile-optimized Websites, 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.
"Google is clearly interested in replicating its online dominance by
positioning itself at the mobile OS level, and around the content that users
increasingly consume on smartphones," he said. "Its brand affinity
among users and one-stop-shop approach for advertisers will accelerate the
shift of dollars spent on mobile advertising in the coming months."
The survey also reveals that 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.
Nathan Eddy is Associate Editor, Midmarket, at eWEEK.com. Before joining eWEEK.com, Nate was a writer with ChannelWeb and he served as an editor at FierceMarkets. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.