Smartphone Users Increasingly Engaged in Rich Media Activities

December 21, 2011

nielsen-mobile-video-viewers-2010-2011-dec11.gifThe number of smartphone users engaged in rich media activities has increased substantially in the past year, according to [download page] a December 2011 report from Nielsen. 26 million smartphone subscribers viewed videos on their devices in Q3 2011, representing 62.5% growth from 16 million in Q3 2010. Meanwhile, the number of smartphone subscribers downloading applications has risen 53% year-over-year to 49 million, while 35 million are downloading games, up 83% from 19 million in Q3 2010. Other fast-growing activities include streaming online music or mobile radio (up 66% to 29 million), full track music downloads (up 65% to 18 million), and online game playing (up 95% to 16 million).

The most popular rich media activity is accessing the mobile internet, which has also displayed impressive growth, rising 45% year-over-year to 57 million subscribers in Q3 2011.

According to December figures from eMarketer, the average time spent per day with mobile phones has jumped 30% in the past year, rising to 1 hour and 5 minutes, meaning that US adults now spend more time with their mobile phones than with print magazines and newspapers combined (44 minutes). Traditional TV remains the most viewed medium, at 4 hours and 34 minutes per day, with the Internet in second place (2 hours and 47 minutes) and radio in third (1 hour and 34 minutes).

Google Leads in Reach

Data from Nielsen’s “The Mobile Media Report: State of the Media Q3 2011” indicates that Google leads all sites in mobile reach on both Android and iOS smartphones, with 92% of device owners using the mobile website within the past 30 days. Facebook ranks second, though boasts far larger reach among iOS than Android owners (86% vs. 66%). And while Twitter is third among iOS owners (63%), it does not figure into the top 10 for Android owners. Other mobile sites with significant reach among iOS and Android owners include Yahoo (54% and 37%, respectively), Amazon (44% and 18%, respectively), and Wikipedia (44% and 26%, respectively).

Android Owners, Kids Increase App Use

The proportion of Android smartphone owners who have downloaded an app in the past 30 days has exploded to 49% this year from just 4% in 2009, while the other major operating systems have experienced a decline in app download reach. The proportion of iOS owners downloading an app in the past 30 days has dropped to 34% from 37% in 2009, while the proportion of Blackberry owners who have done so has plummeted to 11% from 32% in 2009.

Meanwhile, respondents with children who downloaded apps report that 27% of the apps on their phones were downloaded by their offspring. Spouses also account for 13% of app downloads that took place in the past 30 days on their significant other’s phone.

Overall, smartphone app downloaders report having an average of 33 apps on their device, up 22% from 2010. iPhone app downloaders have an average of 44 apps on their phones, while those with Android OS smartphones report having an average of 32.

App Store, Recommendations Drive Discovery

nielsen-app-discovery.jpg63% of app downloaders report discovering new apps by searching the application store, while a majority also use friends and family for recommendations. Third party websites and apps promoting other apps are the next leading ways to discover new apps, although they are drivers for only about 1 in 5 app downloaders.

App downloaders also appear to like deals: among respondents who have downloaded an application to their device in the past 30 days, the vast majority (87%) report having used deal-of-the-day websites. Of those, the leading site was Groupon (79%), followed by LivingSocial (48%), Yelp Daily Deal (9%), and BuyWithMe (7%).

According to a December report from Distimo [download page], both the Apple App Store for iPad and the Apple App Store for iPhone beat the Google Android Market in terms of the total revenue generated by the 200 highest-grossing apps. The Apple App store for iPhone generates about 4 times the revenue that is generated in the Google Android Market. Data from the report also indicates that the share of revenue of the 200 highest grossing iPhone apps that are generated by freemium apps was 29% in January 2011, but rose to a peak height of 53% in September, before experiencing a small decline to 48% of all revenue in November.

Other Findings:

  • According to Nielsen, the number of messages sent and received in the last 30 days by mobile phone users aged over 55 has more than doubled from 99 in Q3 2009 to 231 in Q3 2011.
  • Users aged 35-55 also are sending and receiving more messages, rising 77% from 647 in the past 30 days in 2009 to 1143 this year.
  • Users aged 24 and under continue to send and receive the greatest volume of messages, although subscribers aged 13-17 have dropped 6% year-over-year from 3729 to 3417, while those aged 18-34 have increased their volume 54%, from 2518 to 2842, during that timeframe.

About the Data: Nielsen’s results are based on a monthly survey of 25,000 mobile consumers. The insights regarding application downloads were collected from a survey of nearly 5,000 respondents 13+ who have downloaded an application to their device in the past 30 days. Data concerning mobile messaging is from Nielsen’s quarterly panel of more than 65,000 post-paid mobile phone subscribers.

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