The Mobile Phone is the Centre of Modern Internet Use
Consumers in 2010 are now increasingly using a single device, the mobile phone, for their various media and communications needs. Mobiles are now considered by many to be the essential device for making calls, sending messages and email and accessing the internet. The mobile phone has become so vital to the everyday life of consumers in the UK that mobile internet is now replacing traditional desktop internet access.
The changing way in which we use our mobiles has been fuelled by the growing popularity of smartphones and feature-phones in the UK. The number of people owning a smartphone in the UK has increased from 7.2 million in May 2009 to 12.8 million in May 2010 according to a report by OFCOM. The watchdog reports an eighty one percent increase in smartphone users resulting in over a quarter of the UK population owning a smartphone handset. [OFCOM, August 2010]
The surge in smartphone subscriptions has been accompanied by the growth in fast mobile data networks which provide mobile consumers with quick and easy access to the internet. Exploring the internet via mobile phones is the fastest growing mobile media activity. Nielsen reported that between March 2008 and March 2010, the number of people accessing the internet on their mobile phones more than doubled. An average of thirteen and a half million users, twenty eight percent of UK adults with a mobile phone, use their mobile to access the internet every month. [Nielsen, April 2010]
Ipsos stated in recent research that fifty six percent of smartphone users use the mobile internet frequently. [Ipsos, July 2010] Users who access the mobile internet most frequently and more intensively than any others are those users who access the internet through iPhone. Apple’s iPhone is the most popular smartphone in the UK and accounts for twenty four percent of all daily mobile internet users.
The iPhone has transformed the way in which consumers use data services on mobile handsets to such an extent that eighty seven percent of iPhone users access the mobile internet every day. Similarly, Android-based smartphones are frequently used to access mobile internet services. AdMob reports that twenty six percent of daily mobile internet usage is generated by Android-based handsets. [AdMob, August 2010]
Social networks, such as Facebook, are overwhelmingly popular with mobile users and they account for the greatest time spent using mobile internet sites. According to OFCOM, forty five percent of total time spent online using mobiles is consumed by social networking sites. [OFCOM, August 2010] As well as staying in touch with friends, mobile internet is increasingly being used to watch live television whilst away from home. The phenomenal growth in mobile TV consumption is contributing to the vast increases in mobile data usage across mobile networks in the UK. Over the last twelve months the volume of data transferred over UK mobile networks increased by two hundred and forty percent. [OFCOM, August 2010]
Such developments in mobile use present an exciting opportunity to advertisers, ranging from MMS adverts and mobile games to mobile TV and VoD advertising. The mobile market, widespread availability of high speed networks, increasing adoption of smartphones and the emergence of mobile devices such as the iPad provide conditions that are well-suited to mobile advertising.