Mobile App Use Continues to Edge Browser Use in Popularity

July 3, 2012

comscore-mobile-content-usage-feb-12-v-may-12-jul2012.pngAs the running debate between mobile applications and the mobile web continues, the latest comScore Mobile Metrix data shows that for the 3-month period ending in May 2012, use of downloaded apps proved to have a slightly larger mobile subscriber audience than browser use (51.1% vs. 49.8%). Use of downloaded apps increased 1.6% points from the 3-month period ending in February, while browser use gained a relatively smaller 0.6% points. The gap between app and browser use now stands at 1.2% points, after app use first surpassed mobile browser use in the 3-month period ending in November 2011 (44.9% vs. 44.4%).

Texting remained the most common activity in the most recent 3-month period, used by 74.8% of US mobile subscribers, unchanged from the 3-month period ending in February. Other popular activities included accessing of social networking sites or blogs (36.7%), playing games (33.5%), and listening to music on mobile phone (27%). Each of these activities grew from the previous period, with music-listening exhibiting the fastest growth, of 9%.

Apple Shows Strongest Gains Among OEMs

For the 3-month average period ending in May 2012, 234 million Americans aged 13 and older used mobile devices. Apple saw the largest gain for the period, up 11% to 15% share of subscribers. LG dropped 0.3% points to 19.1% share, meaning that the OEMs are now separated by less than 4% points, as Apple continues to close the gap.

Samsung retained its top spot, inching up 0.1% points to 25.7%. Motorola dropped more than 6% of its share to 12%, and HTC lost roughly 3% of its share, down to 6.1%.

Android, RIM Keep Moving in Opposite Directions

Google’s share of the US smartphone market (primarily representing the Android platform) edged up 1.6% between the 3 months ending February 2012 and the 3 months ending May 2012, increasing to 50.9% in that period. Apple rose 5.6% to 31.9% share, as Google and Apple both gained at the expense of RIM, which dropped almost 15% to 11.4% share, and Symbian, which dipped 0.4% points to 1.1% share. Microsoft remained relatively flat at 4% share.

General US smartphone ownership grew to nearly 110 million in May 2012, up 5% compared to February.

Gender Gap in iPhone Ownership Narrows

Separate comScore data released in June indicates that the demographic profile of the iPhone owner has changed significantly since its release in 2007. Whereas for the 3-month average ending in December 2007, women made up just 39% of iPhone owners, that ownership share has now grown to 47%.

The user base appears to be getting older, too. In late 2007, 22% of iPhone owners were aged 45 or older, while that figure now stands at 28%. And although owners earning $100,000 or more still represent the largest share by income (42%, down from 48%), those making $50-75k are the most rapidly growing income segment, now representing 19% of the iPhone audience.

About the Data: MobiLens data is derived from an intelligent online survey of a nationally representative sample of more than 30,000 US mobile subscribers age 13 and older. Data on mobile phone usage refers to a respondent’s primary mobile phone and does not include data related to a respondent’s secondary device.

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