Trends Shaping the Mobile Landscape

20 Mar Trends Shaping the Mobile Landscape

Last Thursday, I listened in on comScore’s webinar “Mobile Future in Focus: Key Trends Shaping the Mobile and Tablet Landscape in 2012.”  The webinar was really interesting and focused on the results of their latest mobile trends study.

As the mobile landscape continues to evolve with new connected devices coming out and changing the way we consume news, information, media and content, comScore has identified four key trends for 2012.

1. Mobile media is mainstream

Basically, content consumption is being increasingly driven by smartphone usage, with more than half of mobile phone users in the U.S. consuming mobile media. The majority of Americans (93%) are accessing connected media via their smartphones…I’d say that shows it’s become mainstream.

2. Mobile fueling social media and commerce

Obviously, smartphones are being used to access social media sites with over 64 million people in the U.S. accessing them through their mobile device every month and over 38 million every day. Facebook crushes all other social sites with 77% of people accessing it monthly. Most of these visits are to read or post updates but some users follow links and over 50% follow organizations and/or brands.

However, mobile content and connectivity is also changing how we define commerce with deal-a-day sites, shopping guides, electronic payment processing, online retail and bank accounts being accessed regularly by smartphone users. The number of people that use PayPal on their phones has more than doubled over the last several months and 1 in 4 smartphone owners accessed online retail sites in December 2011.  Also, smartphone use is changing the in-store experience of shopping by letting users easily check availability, compare prices, search for coupons and research features – sometimes while they’re actually in the store.

3. Platform wars intensify

Android and Apple are battling it out for first place with each of them taking the lead in different areas. As of July 2011, over 50% of people in the U.S. buying a new phone purchased a smartphone, making them a majority in the market.

Savvy consumers are basing their choice first on network quality, then phone operating system and third on the selection of apps – surprisingly cost ranks after these three factors. While iOS still holds the lion’s share of devices owned, Android sales are growing at the greatest rate with iOS at a close second. As this race is heating up they’re seeing RIM’s sales decline, turning this really into a two-platform race.

4. Connected devices give rise to digital omnivores

The rise of tablets and the number of smartphones on the market has changed how people access content, giving rise to a new kind of content consumer that comScore dubbed a “digital omnivore.”  With tablet usage on a steep incline, connected devices are rivaling the PC in how Americans access content. comScore outlined the biorhythms of when digital omnivores access content via which device, with tablets being used mostly before and after work, computers being used mostly during typical business hours and mobile phones being used steadily during waking hours.

The data also showed that Android and Apple are continuing their battle in this arena as well with Android having the lead in number of devices available and Apple holding the lead in actual tablet usage. Additionally, people are increasingly accessing mobile content over Wi-Fi as opposed to mobile services – especially when it comes to tablets where over 90% of traffic is over Wi-Fi.

Ali Robinson
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