US Gains on EU5 in Smartphone Adoption

February 25, 2011

comscore-smartphone-base-by-country-2010-mar11.gifComparisons of the growth of the US smartphone install base and EU5 smartphone install base during 2010 show the US making gains, according to a new report from comScore. Data from “The 2010 Mobile Year in Review” indicates the US had a smartphone install base of about 63.2 million in December 2010, compared to about 72.6 million in the EU5 nations of Italy, UK, Germany, Spain and France.

While the combined EU5 nations have a smartphone install base about 15% larger than that in the US, comScore data indicates the EU5 base was 25% larger in December 2009. In addition, 47% of US mobile subscribers use mobile media, compared to 35% of EU% mobile subscribers.

Spain Leads EU5, US in Smartphone Adoption

comscore-smartphone-adoption-2010-feb-2011.JPGSmartphone adoption grew considerably in the US and EU5 markets during 2010. Spain has the highest rate of smartphone adoption of all six markets, 37.6%, up about 38% from 27.3% in December 2009. Spain surpassed 2009 leader Italy in November 2010.

The UK had the fastest year-over-year growth of the six markets, increasing about 63% from 21% to 34.3% and taking third place. The US came in fourth with a 27% adoption rate, up about 61% from 16.8% the prior year and in fourth place ahead of Germany and France.

US Smartphone Users Skew Younger

comscore-smartphone-age-2010-feb-2011.JPGSmartphone users skew younger in the US than in the more developed EU5 smartphone market. The US has higher percentages of smartphone users in the 18-to-24 bracket (16.7% compared to 14.5%) and 25-to-34 bracket (27.2% compared to 23.6% percent). Meanwhile, in EU5, those 55 and older represent 18.1% of the smartphone market, compared to 12.6% in the US.

It should also be noted that in the US, the fastest-growing age segments in 2010 were 13-to-17-year-olds (up 86% to 4.3 million) and 55 and older (up 78% to 8 million). In Europe, the fastest growth came from 13-to-17-year-olds (up 66% to 4.6 million users) and 18-to-24-year-olds (up 54% to 10.5 million users).

Browsers Beat Apps

comscore-share-browser-app-users-2010-feb-2011.JPGcomScore analysis shows that by a small margin, mobile web users in both the US and EU5 are more likely to access the internet via browser than via application. Thirty-six percent of Americans and 29% of Europeans browsed the mobile web in December 2010, while application access reached 34% of Americans and 28% of Europeans. Growth rates were similar for both types of access in both markets.

Close to Half of US Mobile Subscribers Use Mobile Media

In December 2010, nearly 47% of mobile subscribers in the US were mobile media users (browsed the mobile web, accessed applications, downloaded content or accessed the mobile Internet via SMS), up about 17% from the previous year, according to other report data. comScore says the growth in mobile media usage is largely attributable to the growth in smartphone adoption, 3G/4G device ownership and the increasing ubiquity of unlimited data plans, all of which facilitate the consumption of mobile media.

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