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Communications, Social Networking Among Top Smartphone Activities in Western Europe

Search, news and entertainment are also popular

In 2014, internet penetration in the main Western European markets will continue to vary substantially, from 58.0% and 64.0% in Italy and Spain, respectively, to more than 74% in France and Germany. Rapid smartphone adoption—and to a lesser extent, tablet uptake—is fueling a dramatic evolution of online behavior in these countries, according to a new eMarketer report, “Western Europe Internet Users and Usage: Mobile Devices Transform Consumer Habits.”

Accessing information, such as news and weather, and search remain key online activities, along with communications and social networking. Entertainment is important, too. Most of these are already transferring in large measure to mobile.

According to comScore MobiLens polling in March 2013, the most popular mobile app categories among smartphone owners in the EU-5 reflected these same priorities, including communications, social networking and search.

In an ARD/ZDF-Medienkommission study, smartphone users in Germany used messaging and social network apps the most, though apps focused on news also garnered more than one-quarter of the audience. Some 14% said they were frequent users of game apps.

In France, email was the most widespread activity among smartphone users, cited by 81% of those ages 15 to 60 polled by SFR and Omnicom Media Group. Nearly three-quarters (72%) carried out online searches, 58% accessed social networks, and 56% used map services. Almost half of respondents said they played games either through a mobile app or site.

Looking specifically at mobile content, October 2013 research by Vserv.mobi and the Mobile Marketing Association found that games/apps, typically used for entertainment, were by far the top mobile content downloaded by mobile internet users in Italy.

Nearly nine in 10 respondents had downloaded a game or app in the month prior to polling. Music and video, popular forms of entertainment, were each cited by around three in 10 respondents.


The full report, “Western Europe Internet Users and Usage: Mobile Devices Transform Consumer Habits,” also answers these key questions:

  • How many people are using the internet in France, Germany, Italy and Spain?
  • How do internet users in Western Europe spend their time online?
  • How are mobile devices changing internet usage patterns in the main Western European markets?

This report is available to eMarketer corporate subscription clients only. eMarketer clients, log in and view the report now.

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