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Mobile Activities Rival PC for Smartphone Owners

Video viewing, social networking become common smartphone activities

June 27, 2011

Rising smartphone penetration is significantly changing the way people use their mobile devices, making activities convenient—even attractive—on the go that before were barely possible. Social media quickly became a major mobile growth category, and online video usage may be following suit.

Research from Google and the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) conducted during the first half of 2011 in several countries around the world found internet usage via mobile is quickly becoming as important as internet usage via PC among those who own smartphones.

In the US, the survey found, 58% of smartphone owners had used their phone to go online every day during the week before polling, vs. 78% who said the same of their PC. When asked about usage the day before polling, 53% said they used the mobile internet multiple times, compared with 67% who said the same of their PC.

Daily social networking activities show an even smaller spread between mobile and PC usage. In the US, there was only a 9 percentage point gap between the two.

Smartphone Users in Select Countries Who Use Online or Mobile Social Networks at Least Once a Day, Q2 2011 (% of respondents)

Compared to social networking, which has truly taken off as a major mobile activity, online video usage on smartphones is still low. But frequent viewing rates are becoming comparable to those for the desktop web. Two in 10 smartphone users in the US said they watched mobile video every day, compared with 34% who watched each day on their computer.

Smartphone Users in Select Countries Who Watch Online or Mobile Video at Least Once a Day, Q2 2011 (% of respondents)

The vast majority of smartphone users surveyed around the world said they planned to increase usage of the mobile internet in the next year, including 91% of US respondents, suggesting the rates of these and other mobile content activities will continue to rise.

The survey found that 31% of US internet users had a smartphone. eMarketer estimates that 31% of US mobile users will have a smartphone by the end of this year, rising to 43% by 2015.

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Check out today’s other article, “Search Engines Solidify Position as Source of Local Business Info.”

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