New Research on Mobile Internet Access and Engagement



Local Mobile Search Advisory
As a follow up to the most recent consumer research Local Mobile Search conducted in August 2008, we fielded two parallel consumer surveys in March and April of this year. They address a range of issues and are consistent with surveys we've done in the past. We pulled a considerable amount of data from the two surveys on a range of topics from smartphone ownership to mobile search, social networking and mobile advertising. We'll be releasing that data over time in various reports.

This LMS Advisory presentation represents a selection of the data focused on consumer mobile devices and mobile Internet access. Two factors emerge as very clear variables regarding mobile engagement and Internet use: smartphone ownership and cost. The former is a driver and the latter a barrier. Those not using their phones to go online are concerned about cost, while smartphone owners index at much higher rates across all categories of mobile Internet activity. Accordingly, we've highlighted differences where the smartphone owner activity is greater or otherwise significant.

Metrics firm comScore recently said that 70% of mobile Internet access in the U.S. is happening on so-called feature phones. Yet it's clear from our research, and other third-party data, that smartphones is where all the action is. In terms of engagement there's some self-selection going on: smartphone owners buy them in part because they want a better mobile Internet experience. But it's also true that the usability of smartphones generates more activity in turn.

As smartphone growth occurs, the mobile Internet will also grow. But cost is also a significant factor. If smartphone handset prices come down (see the $99 iPhone), and if data plans become more competitive, we'll see a great many more people upgrading and going online.

Finally, mobile devices at some point will overtake the PC as primary Internet access vehicles for some segments of the population. This has already happened in some developing countries without big, installed PC user bases. But at the end of the LMS Advisory presentation there are predictions about whether mobile will trump PCs for Internet access. It's already happening for some iPhone users. And we expect the trend to continue and grow.

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For more information on becoming an I2G client, please contact Pete Headrick ([email protected]).