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Messaging, Social Networking and Search Becoming Predominantly Mobile Activities for Smartphone Users

by Kevin Nolan | Feb 04, 2011

Our Wireless Media Lab team has just updated its consumer research stats on mobile internet usage.  We've found that the proportion of mobile device owners who use their phone to access the internet regularly has quadrupled in the US, and tripled in Western Europe over the past four years.  28% of US mobile device users, and 22% of those in W. Europe, now access the internet on their phone at least once per week.

However, the vast majority of mobile internet sessions continue to last less than 10 minutes on average - far shorter than the average time spent browsing on a computing device with a larger screen. This suggests that mobile web browsing remains predominantly a 'snacking' or 'time critical' behavior, whereas the PC/laptop is used for more leisurely or media-intensive usage scenarios.

For smartphone owners, person-to-person messaging, social networking and web searching are becoming predominantly associated with mobile activities, while other groups of behavior (e.g. media and entertainment related activities and more casual news and information gathering) are less likely to be undertaken using the mobile device.  For this reason, we recommend that mobile interface designers prioritize mobile experiences such as search, social networking, messaging and time-sensitive feeds of information on topics that match the interests of the individual user (e.g. sports, weather updates etc.).

Additionally, with the increasing penetration of tablets, it is clear that tomorrow's most useful experiences will be optimized across multiple screens, delivering and prioritizing the right type of information to the right screen at the right time to anticipate user needs.

Client reading - Mobile Internet and PC Browsing Behaviors Diverge

Kevin Nolan

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