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How We Use Mobile Phones

Voice and text still tops.

July 20, 2009

A multicountry study from Lightspeed Research sheds light on how consumers use their mobile phones in the US, UK, France and Germany.

Users in the US and UK were most likely to say they would be lost without their mobile device, at 49% and 30%, respectively. But US and UK users were also most likely to report “never” making voice calls.

Frequency with Which Mobile Phone Users in Select Countries Make a Voice Call, June 2009 (% of respondents)

In all four countries studied, making a mobile phone call at least once a day was the norm, however. Frequency was highest in France, where 57% of users called daily. The US was close behind at 52%.

Among UK users, texting was even more popular than talking. Users were more likely to use SMS messaging both weekly and daily than they were to make calls.

Frequency with Which UK Mobile Phone Users Use Mobile Content, June 2009 (% of respondents)

After voice and text, browsing the Internet was the most common daily activity, with 9% of UK users surfing on their handsets every day. More than one in five used the mobile Internet at least weekly.

Users were even more likely (38%) to take photos with their phone at least once per week.

When asked about new phone functions they would like to have, US users were most likely to wish for satellite navigation systems.

Select Features that US Mobile Phone Users Would Like to Have on Their Mobile Phone, June 2009 (% of respondents)

Friend and family locators were the second choice of users in the US—and in the UK and France. That technology took a backseat to privacy concerns in Germany.

“There is no question that the mobile phone is an important tool for daily life for many of the people we surveyed,” said Lightspeed CEO David Day, “and that many people use the additional phone applications such as photos, video, music and the internet.”

But reliance on mobile communications has a downside.

“There is real fear around data security and the increased risk of theft,” Mr. Day warned. “This is something the industry will need to address to encourage consumers to try new functionality such as mobile commerce.”

See M-Commerce Ringing Up (Some) Sales for more info on US mobile commerce adoption and attitudes.

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