Data And Forecasts

Survey: 75% Using Smartphones for LBS Information

On Friday the Pew Internet Project released survey data that showed significant usage of "real-time location-based information" by smartphone owners in the US. Earlier consumer surveys have shown that 90% or more of smartphone owners have used their devices to get "local" or location-based information (at one point or another). 

When you consider that Google Maps is either the top app or one of the top two apps on the iPhone and Android the Pew finding is obvious and not a surprise. Indeed, Pew never clearly defines the cluster of sites, apps or services that constitute the location-based information category. That may be because the question is asked in that way, without further definition, to consumers. 

Location based info and geosocial services_smartphone owners

An additional finding from the survey is that 18% of smartphone owners are using "check-in" services like Foursquare:

Smartphone owner geosocial and location based information use

In November 2010 Pew said that only 4% of survey respondents were using "geosocial" or "check-in" services. 

We should see "location-based services" hit 100% usage or penetration among smartphone owners, depending on how the category is defined. That's because every smartphone owner is going to eventually use a map or check the weather or look up a restaurant. 

Are Facebook Users Fleeing to Mobile to Escape Ads?

Facebook has again updated its S-1. There are a few reasons for this, including the awarding of additional stock to employees. However there's a very interesting discussion of mobile in the revised document (pointed out by TechCrunch). On page 14 of the document Facebook reiterates uncertainty around its ability to make money off mobile users:

We had 488 million MAUs who used Facebook mobile products in March 2012. While most of our mobile users also access Facebook through personal computers, we anticipate that the rate of growth in mobile usage will exceed the growth in usage through personal computers for the foreseeable future, in part due to our focus on developing mobile products to encourage mobile usage of Facebook.

We have historically not shown ads to users accessing Facebook through mobile apps or our mobile website. In March 2012, we began to include sponsored stories in users’ mobile News Feeds. However, we do not currently directly generate any meaningful revenue from the use of Facebook mobile products, and our ability to do so successfully is unproven. We believe this increased usage of Facebook on mobile devices has contributed to the recent trend of our daily active users (DAUs) increasing more rapidly than the increase in the number of ads delivered. If users increasingly access Facebook mobile products as a substitute for access through personal computers, and if we are unable to successfully implement monetization strategies for our mobile users, or if we incur excessive expenses in this effort, our financial performance and ability to grow revenue would be negatively affected.

(emphasis added.)

The only mobile ad unit currently used by Facebook is Sponsored Stores, which put brand and advertiser messages in the user news feed. These units have proven to be successful on the PC but could become annoying to users on mobile devices. I have not yet seen any of these ads myself. 

One reason why mobile usage is growing so rapidly for Facebook is a result of general smartphone adoption among Americans. There are also things about the user experience in mobile that are superior to the PC: the ability to take and immediately upload pictures, for example. 

There may be another reason why usage is migrating to mobile: ad avoidance. People may be choosing the mobile version of Facebook over the PC site precisely because there are fewer ads; it's a "cleaner" experience. If my theory is correct then Facebook has a major problem on its hands. As Facebook puts more ads in mobile to make money it risks alienating users if the company is not very careful and thoughtful. 

Mobile ads on Facebook will have to add value, be compelling (offers) or highly relevant (local) in order to work. For this reason I expect Facebook to make a major mobile ad-network acquisition. This would be for the "infrastructure," the expertise and the inventory. It would be analogous to what Google did with AdMob.

Insurance, Banking Dominate Mobile Advertising in Financial Vertical

Millennial Media released an extensive report this morning, supported by research from comScore, on the mobile finance vertical. It contains in-depth audience profile and behavior information. It's also partly devoted to discussion of financial sector advertisers, their mobile campaigns and tactics.

The company found that finance-related mobile ads grew 34% from Q3 2010 to Q3 2011. Millennial reported that insurance was the leading sub-category, with 42% of display ads on its network. Those ads were mostly lead-gen or directed people to call centers (to close). 

Screen shot 2012-05-09 at 7.57.25 AM

Banking was next, with an emphasis on branding/awareness. Interestingly Millennial said that "This was also the only Finance sub-category to focus on driving foot traffic into brick and mortar locations, such as ATMs/cash points and bank branches."

Financial services/credit cards followed those categories. These were national campaigns largely focused on a mix of awareness and direct response:

Spend in the Financial Services category varied throughout the year, as brands increased their mobile ad spend ahead of key seasonal events like the April US tax deadline. Credit Card brands heavily focused on campaigns designed to easily allow consumers to apply for new cards.

Apps Crush Mobile Web in Time Spent -- comScore

There has been an ongoing debate about whether the mobile web would ultimately prevail over apps, with web partisans in disbelief about the persistence and growth of apps. Flurry Analytics famously reported last year that apps were consuming more time than the PC. Now comScore confirms what Flurry has been saying: mobile users spend far more time with apps than the mobile browser.

The reason is simple: it's a better user experience. Publishers don't like being captive to app stores but consumers have clearly expressed their preference for apps. According to comScore: 

Analysis of the share of time spent across apps and browsers revealed that even though these access methods had similar audience sizes, apps drove the lion’s share of engagement, representing 4 in every 5 mobile media minutes. Analysis of the top properties also revealed widely varying degrees of time spent between app and browser access methods. On Facebook, the top ranked mobile media property by engagement, 80 percent of time spent was represented by app usage compared to 20 percent via browser.

Among all measured sites/apps, according to comScore, Facebook saw the greatest engagement among US users, with people spending 7 hours with Facebook's mobile site or apps in March. The chart measures average mobile minutes spent on popular social sites/apps. 

Screen shot 2012-05-08 at 7.40.47 AM
Source: comScore, March 2012

iPad: How Do We Reconcile Tablet Projections with Actual Traffic Data?

IDC and Gartner both released revised tablet projections in the past month. According to Gartner Apple will control 61.4% of the tablet market in 2012. IDC says Apple had a 68% share of the global tablet market in Q1 2012. Gartner is counting projected sales, while IDC is measuring shipments.

Shipments have been definitively shown to be an inaccurate metric in the past. Shipments do not equal sales. 

Yet late last week ad network Chitika found, based on millions of impressions on its US-based network, "that the iPad accounted for 94.64% of all tablet based traffic." By contrast Chitika said that the nearest competitor, the Samsung Galaxy tablet, "boasts a lack luster market share of 1.22%."  

The ad network found that for every 100 iPads there were just over 1 Samsung Galaxy Tabs, as measured by traffic generated. For every 100 iPads there were 0.8% Kindle Fires. As an aside Kindle Fire sales have dramatically slowed this past quarter. 

While Chitika's network is not synonymous with the entire Internet it's going to be generally representative of traffic trends. In Q3 2011 comScore reported that "iPads delivered 97.2 percent of all tablet traffic in the US." 

There's something really out of alignment between what IDC, Gartner, NPD and several others are reporting in terms of tablet market share and what's actually happening "on the ground" in terms of usage.  

Nielsen: Windows Phone Has a 1.7% Share in US

Nielsen has released some smarpthone market share figures for March. The metrics firm says that 50.5% of US mobile phone owners now carry smartphones. The data show the following breakdown by operating system:

  • Android OS -- 48.5%
  • iOS -- 32.0%
  • Blackberry -- 11.6%
  • Windows Mobile -- 4.1%
  • Windows Phone -- 1.7%
  • Other -- 2.1%

Here's comScore's March data for comparison purposes:

  • Google -- 51.0%
  • Apple -- 30.7%
  • RIM -- 12.3%
  • Microsoft -- 3.9%
  • Symbian -- 1.4%

Comscore puts smartphone penetration at 45.2% in the US by comparison. 

There's a meaningful difference in the numbers in terms of Android and iOS market share percentages in both data sets. In addition Nielsen shows 5.8% penetration of Windows, while comScore shows 3.9%. That's also a fairly significant difference. 

They both agree however that the Windows Phone platform so far hasn't moved the needle and Microsoft's overall share of the smartphone market is declining. 

Mobile Search Clicks Higher, Prices Generally Lower than Online Ads

During the past two or three weeks a trio of reports came out about paid search trends, with considerable information about mobile. Agencies Marin Software, IgnitionOne and Performics each put out "Q1" reports. What they uniformly show is that mobile keeps gaining and that CTRs are better than for comparable ads online.

Performics says it's not seeing any cannibalization by mobile of PC search, which it says is still growing. The agency says people are simply searching more: PC at their desks, smartphones on the go and iPads at night on the couch. And none of this reflects or counts in-app search as an alternative to the mobile browser. 

First from Marin (top) and IgnitionOne (second) the following two graphics offer a comparison of paid search clicks on the PC, tablets and smartphones. Marin and IgnitionOne are very consistent with each other (based on aggregated client data):

Screen shot 2012-05-03 at 9.13.04 AMScreen shot 2012-05-03 at 9.12.47 AM

Given that there are scores of clients and hundreds of campaigns reflected in the two charts above we can take these metrics as definitive (for now) regarding the relative CTRs on each of these device platforms.

Performics argues that the present is a buying opportunity in mobile search (and display) because prices are lower than for PC campaigns, even as performance is superior to the PC. The graphic below shows the relative cost of paid search clicks for smartphones and tablets indexed against comparable PC campaign costs. 

Screen shot 2012-05-03 at 9.21.11 AM

Carrier Desire for More Data Fees in Conflict with Consumer Price Sensitivity

In the regular torrent of data and reports streaming across my desk there were a number of interesting findings recently that indirectly addressed the issue of mobile consumer price sensitivity. The first came from Google's recent consumer study with Compete about how mobile phone buyers shop for handsets and what influences those purchase decisions. 

Google found that after carrier network quality/reliability the primary consumer considerations were the cost of data and voice plans and the price of handsets.

Screen shot 2012-05-02 at 7.19.51 PM

Source: Google-Compete (Q3 2011)

Then came Chetan Sharma's latest Global Mobile Market Update, which is trove of charts about a range of mobile issues: smartphone adoption, carrier revenues and mobile IP among others. He underscores the now familar point that carrier voice revenues are flat to declining while data is driving growth. Partly as a consequence, most carriers have moved away or are trying to retreat from unlimited data plans.

Sharma asserts that mobile phone plan fees now represent "50% of the [consumer] household IT budget." That was quite striking to me. Also in the "household IT" category are landlines, cable TV and Internet access. Carriers want to drive up fees; consumers want to hold them down. 

Another interesting, related piece of data from Sharma's slides is one that shows how most consumers that have bought iPads or other tablets have opted for WiFi only devices (63%) -- undoubtedly a cost saving move. Even a majority of those who've bought carrier-enabled devices have not activated those carrier plans. In other words, according to the data, only 12% of tablets are running on carrier networks. 

Screen shot 2012-05-02 at 7.38.07 PM
Source: Chetan Sharma April 2012

This choice is absolutely about minimizing fees that consumers are paying for Internet access. They're paying for access at home, they're paying for access on their smartphones -- and many families have multiple people on data plans. It thus makes sense that they'd say "no" to a third Internet access tariff for tablets. 

Verizon in the US is rumored to be readying a multiple device family data plan. We'll have to see how much data it allows and how much it costs. In theory it's a compelling solution. 

However the carrier imperative to extract more data charges and fees from consumers as other revenues decline will bump up against consumer price sensitivity and resistance to price increases. Market competition will also limit the carriers' ability to raise prices in the future. 

Survey: 45% of Those Who Saw Ads in Apps Clicked

Mobile advertising platform Tapjoy released survey data about mobile user attitudes and behaviors surrounding engagement with in-app advertising. The online survey had 2,000 US adult respondents who owned smartphones and/or tablets and used apps. The major finding was that users respond best to ads in apps that offer rewards of some kind. 

Respondents were grouped in age and psychographic categories and profiled accordingly. The survey discovered that adults in the 25-34 age group "are more likely to value the influence of advertisements, they generally recall seeing more ads while using mobile apps." In addition during each app session people in this group recalled a larger number of ads vs. the total population.

These individuals had more paid apps on their devices than other age groups. In addition, once they saw an ad "50% choose to click on it, compared to only 45% of typical app users." These numbers are huge: half of those who noticed an ad clicked on it.

Here are some of the other top-level findings: 

  • App users are more likely to remember brands that offer unique rewards
  • 58% of users tried an app after downloading it to earn a reward
  • Respondents estimate that half of the apps they use are ad-­supported; 64% of users reported having seen an advertisement within a mobile app.
  • 45% of these consumers reported clicking on one of the ads
  • 42% of users download an app because their friends and family suggested they do so
  • 24% of users will tell friends and family about [an app they like] and convince them to get it

Stepping back, none of this comes as a surprise. (There's also lots of discussion of virtual currency in the survey.) Mobile users tend to respond to ads more than PC users and in-app users perhaps more significantly than users of the mobile web. It also makes sense that ads containing some sort of incentive, deal/discount or call to action would see higher response than in the absence of those things.

We've written previously about how many -- indeed a majority -- of mobile ads suffer from bland or perfunctory ad creative and copy and are merely shrunk-down versions of PC campaigns rather than created specifically for mobile audiences. When mobile ads are well conceived they can be enormously effective. 

Report: Mobile Email Opens to Pass PC by Q4

Most marketers' email campaigns are not optimized for mobile. I observe this all the time in my own experience: the majority of emails I open on my smartphone (iPhone) land on an HTML page that assumes I'm on a PC. Yet PC email opens will be the minority use case very soon according to data released by email analytics provider Return Path.

The company examined 500 client email campaigns in Q4, 2011 through Q1, 2012 and found that 30% of email opens were on mobile devices. Further, it said that mobile was on track to become "the dominant email marketing platform later this year." This makes sense because email is one of the primary activities that people do in mobile. Return Path asserts that 42% of all time spent with mobile is spent on email. 

The company doesn't indicate whether iPads are counted as mobile devices here. In that case PC-formatted emails will look OK. 

Regardless, the Return Path data and prediction will come as a shock to most email marketers who are well behind in terms of mobile adoption. Citing third party data Return Path said that of all email opens only 2.4% of people opened the same email on their mobile device and a PC. In other words, marketers get one shot at users and that's going to be mostly mobile as of later this year.

Citing another third party study Return Path reports that 63% of Americans and 41% of Europeans either close or delete emails not optimized for mobile. This shows how high the stakes are for marketers who rely on email -- especially retailers.

Perhaps the second most suprising datapoint from the study, Return Path found that "Apple devices account for 85% of all mobile email opens." What this effectively means is that at some point in Q4 a majority of email opens will happen on iPhones and iPads. 

UC Berkeley Report on Mobile Payments Discovers Highly Negative Consumer Attitudes

A recently published study from the UC Berkeley Law School about mobile payments and related issues finds some significant consumer resistance -- at least in the abstract. A survey discussed in the report found that "over three-quarters (74%) of Americans said that they are 'not at all likely' or 'not too likely' to adopt mobile payment systems. Just 24% say that they are likely to adopt mobile payments."

Enthusiasm or resistance to mobile payments varied by age. Interestingly the people most enthusiastic about the technology were those in the 35-44 age range -- not the youngest adults. Yet attitudes and behavior are often distinct and surveys don't always reflect what people actually do in concrete situations in the world. Still the data potentially reflect a stiff uphill climb for mobile payments purveyors. 

Services like Square and PayPal Here may be exceptions because they don't require a change in consumer behavior. The consumer is still swiping a card; it's the merchant experience which is changed. 

A 2012 consumer survey conducted by the US Federal Reserve found that 12% of respondents had made a “mobile payment” within the past year. However “payment” was broadly defined to include online bill paying, m-commerce, charitable giving and money transfers, among other transactions. Online bill paying was by far the most common “mobile payment” activity according to the survey.

(Source: US Federal Reserve Q1 2012, n=1,780 US adults)

Concerns over security and the lack of apparent/clear benefits were the top two obstacles to mobile payments adoption according to the Federal Reserve survey.

The UC Berkeley survey looked at related areas surrounding mobile payments adoption. It explored location tracking and other privacy related issues (i.e., giving merchants information as part of the mobile transaction). Among other things, the survey asked consumers about how much information they were willing to give to merchants and how comfortable they were allowing their movements in or around shopping areas to be tracked by retailers or other entities. 

The report says that, "Americans overwhelmingly oppose the revelation of contact information (phone number, email address, and home address) to merchants when making purchases with mobile payment systems. Furthermore, an even higher level of opposition exists to systems that track consumers’ movements through their mobile phones." An overwhelming 96% of survey respondents say they objected to having their movements tracked by merchants or retailers; and 79% said they would “definitely not allow” it, with the remaining 17% saying they would “probably not allow” it.

Again this may be an abstract fear that dissipates if consumers realize concrete benefits from permitting themselves to be tracked or by divulging information. Regardless, mobile payments vendors and merchants will need to overcome the catalog of user fears and offer very concrete benefits to drive adoption. There are a large number of people who not only don't see mobile payments inevitable, useful or convenient but see it as a net negative.

That perception will need to be overcome to mainstream the phenomenon. And that will probably happen by getting a sufficient early adopter critical mass of people who can then proselytize and educate their friends, family and colleagues. 

Kindle Fire Controls More than 50% of Android Tablet Market

Today comScore confirmed what we already knew: Kindle Fire is the dominant tablet in the non-iPad universe. Comscore reported that the Kindle Fire had 54% of the US Android tablet market and was far ahead of all other Android tablet OEMs including Samsung.

Here's the market-share breakdown in the US Android tablet market according to comScore: 

Screen shot 2012-04-26 at 3.17.51 PM

Kindle Fire is a weak competitor to the iPad in terms of overall user experience. However its $199 price has made it extraordinarily successful. Accordingly it set the bar for Android pricing in the 7 inch category, if not the rest of the Android tablet market. 

Google will reportedly match or beat that pricing when its own branded tablet goes on sale later this year. 

Google: Android Users Conducting 2.65 Mobile Searches per Day

One of the keys to estimating mobile ad revenue is making valid assumptions about consumer-user behavior. Mobile search advertising (mostly benefiting Google right now) is currently the single largest mobile ad revenue category in the US market. The key drivers of mobile search revenue are CPC pricing, advertiser volume and user query volume.

In data revealed during the the Google-Oracle litigation, Google (in Q1 2010) projected mobile ad revenues based on an assumption of 1.1 mobile searches per day per user, or roughly 30 searches per month. However additional data released suggest that Android users are actually conducting 2.65 mobile search queries per day, or more than 60 mobile searches per month. 

Estimate how many times EACH MONTH you search Google on your mobile phone? 

Screen shot 2012-04-26 at 9.29.18 AM
Source: Opus Research (4/12 n=1,522 US adult mobile users)

However this mobile search volume is inconsistent with what user surveys reveal about query volume. For example our most recent survey indicates that a majority of mobile users don't search Google on their handsets. This sample included non smartphone users so the numbers are more skewed than if this sample was smartphone users exclusively.

Other surveys report that most smartphone owners conduct fewer than 20 mobile searches per month, though a meaningful minority are power users and do more than 20 or 30 mobile queries on a monthly basis. In our survey above, 81% said they performed fewer than 20 searches per month and most performed fewer than 10.

Accordingly there's a disconnect between Google's apparently actual 2010 behavioral data about Android user mobile search volumes and what users report on surveys about their mobile search activities. 

InMobi: iOS Leading Android on Network

Each of the ad networks presents somewhat different data on the question of who's got more market share iOS or Android. Nielsen reported that recent sales of iPhones have been "closing the gap" between Apple's handset and the "Android army." However networks Millennial Media and JumpTap show Android impressions being roughly 2:1 what iOS impressions are on their networks.

This morning inMobi released new data (for February and Q1) showing that the iPhone has a greater share of impressions on its network vs. Android. According to inMobi, "iOS has maintained its dominant market position over Android in North America since January this year, with iOS total share of impressions for the quarter at 37%, against Android at 34%."

Screen shot 2012-04-23 at 9.03.05 AM

The top three devices on inMobi's network in North America are: 

  • iPhone -- 19.7%
  • iPod Touch -- 12.2%
  • iPad -- 4.9%

The network also reported that on a global basis, Nokia still had the largest percentage of ad impressions (35%), "although its OS share of impressions decreased slightly over the last quarter."

IAB: US Mobile Ad Revenues $1.6 Billion in 2011

The IAB is out today with its full year 2011 digital advertising report. There are a number of interesting things in the report, among them the mobile ad revenue estimates. According to the IAB mobile advertising in the US was worth $1.6 billion in 2011.

Of all the ad formats mobile showed the greatest growth, as one might expect. Below is a comparison of digital ad categories. Search increased its share of digital revenues and was by far the largest single category.

Screen shot 2012-04-18 at 2.28.29 PM

We haven't revised our mobile ad forecast for a couple of years, but it was very close to the IAB figures. I'm pretty happy with that. 

Screen shot 2011-10-04 at 8.41.30 AM

Survey Suggests Limited Demand for Lumia Phones

AT&T has said that Lumia 900 sales have "exceeded expectations." Gizmodo checks seem to confirm brisk sales (with some qualifications). The Lumia appears to be selling well on Amazon in the US. Yet reports from Europe suggest carriers have soured on the device:

Skeptics among operators say the sleek, neon-coloured phones are overpriced for what is not an innovative product, cite a lack of marketing dollars put behind the phones, and image problems caused by glitches in the battery and software of the early models . . .

"No one comes into the store and asks for a Windows phone," said an executive in charge of mobile devices at a European operator, which has sold the Lumia 800 and 710 since December.

The other day on the WP Central blog there was a poll of readers indicating some iPhone and Android users were abandoning their handsets for Lumia. That poll inspired me to create one myself on Google Consumer Surveys.

I asked "What will be your next mobile phone?" The survey had just over 1,500 US adult respondents. The responses (below), which are allegedly statistically significant, suggest very limited demand for the Lumia handset and Windows Phones in general in this market. 

What will be your next mobile phone? 

 Screen shot 2012-04-18 at 1.07.19 PM

N=1,504 (Opus Research using Google Surveys)

The survey respondents were drawn from news and reference sites and almost evenly divided between men and women and across age groups. The questions were randomized so as to not bias the results. 

In terms of the "Other" responses (33%), some are probably intended Android buyers that aren't looking at Samsung models. They may also be non-smartphone buyers as well. This is suggested by the fact that when segmented by age, "Other" is the top category for those over 45. 

Those in the 35-44 age group were much more interested in the Windows/Lumia handset than other age groups (5.4% vs. 3.5% overall). Demand was strongest for Windows/Lumia phones in the South and US Midwest. Demand for BlackBerry phones was strongest in the Northeast. 

Interestingly Windows/Lumia demand was stronger than the norm among those earning at least $75,000 per year. This is a bit counter-intuitive because the phone is aggressively priced at $99, presumably to generate demand at all income levels. However, among those making less than $75,000 per year demand for Windows/Lumia was less than the survey norm above. These findings suggest that Nokia may not have needed to target the phone below $150 or $199 (with contract). 

We'll find out definitely over the next two quarters, as Nokia discloses sales figures, whether the Lumia handsets are selling well or not. But the survey I conducted appears to confirm my earlier prediction that they'll see only modest adoption in the US.

Without Apps Local-Mobile Search Queries Won't Beat the PC in 3 Years

BIA/Kelsey has just put out a prediction that local-mobile search will surpass local search on the PC in 2015. The following year (2016) BIA "expects mobile local search to exceed desktop local search by more than 27 billion annual queries."

There's a certain logic here -- 40% of mobile search carries a local intent (per Google) and mobile is growing faster than PC search -- but I think the crossover date is farther out than three years from now. (In developing countries it may be much sooner.) The press release doesn't mention apps and I suspect the prediction is largely or entirely about query volumes coming from the search bar on the mobile browser (which is 95% Google).

Source: Performics, 3/11

To achieve the local query volumes projected and surpass PC search equivalents by 2015, however, apps would need to be included in the calculation. Right now nobody really knows how much "search" and local search is happening in the context of apps. Nobody is actively tracking it. However, the recent Local Search Study from 15Miles, comScore and Localeze suggests that a substantial percentage of local-mobile search is happening within apps.

The survey of 4,000 US adults found that 49% of smartphone and tablet owners are using apps to find local information. I speculated that half of "local search" query volume, which might otherwise be on Google or other search engines on the PC, might be going through apps on smartphones. It's a leap but one not without some merit.

According to 2011 US survey data from Performics (chart above), 60% of mobile search users conduct fewer than 20 mobile searches per month, while 40% do 20 or more searches monthly. There are other data and surveys I could cite; this is just one. It illustrates, however, that there's a significant gap currently between PC and mobile search today. On the PC, comScore said last year that US adults conduct an average of 107 search queries per month.

If we use Google's 20% PC local search number, it would mean that in March there were roughly 3.7 billion local searches on the PC in the US. If we use Yahoo's 30% figure it would be more like 5.5 billion. The average of the two is 4.6 billion monthly local queries. (I believe these figures probably under count PC local intent search volumes.) If there are now roughly 125 million smartphone users in the US and roughly 90% of them use search, that means in any given month 112.5 million people are searching for stuff. If we assume they're all doing 20 queries a month (near the top end of the Perfomics range) that comes to 2.25 billion mobile queries monthly in the US. However only a subset of those are local.

If we use Google's 40% (of mobile search is local) figure, then roughly 900 million mobile search queries have a local intent on a monthly basis. (This number is likely higher than what's actually happening in the market given the assumption of 20 searches per month on average.) And again this doesn't account for local search queries happening in apps, which is probably hundreds of millions at least.

Indeed, "search" takes many forms on mobile devices, and much of it isn't running through a traditional search engine like Google. Yet mobile queries on Google are also growing rapidly. While overall mobile search volumes will continue to grow and while they could grow from 900 million to more than 4 or 5 billion monthly queries in three years I just don't see that happening unless we count app-based query volumes as part of the equation.

Apple and Nokia Change Places As Lumia (So Far) Fails to Ignite

Ahead of Apple's quarterly earnings call next week, Fortune has rounded up analysts estimates regarding Q1 2012 iPhone sales. The consensus range is 30 to 35 million units:

The average among the Wall Street analysts is 30.5 million . . . To hedge our bets, we've singled out the six analysts who have turned in the most accurate estimates over the past five quarters. Their consensus: nearly 35.1 million units, an increase of 88.5% year over year.

Apple was the insurgent and Nokia the market leader. Now the roles have been reversed.

Nokia will report a loss later this week and expects a similar result in Q2. The bottom has fallen out of Symbian phone sales. However the company said it had sold 2 million Lumia handsets (globally) to date:

In the first quarter 2012, Nokia sold more than 2 million Lumia devices at an average selling price of approximately EUR 220 (reported within the Smart Devices business unit). Furthermore, Nokia has seen sequential growth in Lumia device activations every month since starting sales of Lumia devices in November 2011. Lumia has gained market share with both distribution partners and consumers. The Windows Phone ecosystem is also attracting developers and has expanded rapidly with more than 80,000 applications available.

Dpending on whether you think "it's still very early" or whether the company should have sold more units to date, you either conclude that the device is off to a good start or failing to take off. My view is in-between. I think it will sell moderately well to people interested in an inexpensive handset and not loyal to either Apple or Google.

The phone is apparently selling well on Amazon with overwhelmingly positive reviews, leading one person to question whether the reviews had been faked.  I do believe that some of the reviews are fake; though many if not most are probably genuine. Nokia, AT&T and Microsoft have a great deal riding on the success of the handset, creating incentives for people to generate positive reviews.

I have used Windows Phones and found them to be good but not great. The chief problem is a lack of apps. I also don't favor the homescreen UI.

If Lumia is as great as the reviews suggest then sales should pick up considerably in the next quarter. This is the make or break year for both Windows Phone and Nokia as a company.

Survey: US PC Internet Adoption Has Plateaued

This past week the Pew Internet Project released a mix of data drawn from 2011 surveys. This new "Digital Differences" report reveals that 20% of US adult population does not use the Internet for a range of reasons ("no need," etc). These are mostly older, less educated or less affluent people. These findings are not surprising. 

However the data argue more strikingly PC-based Internet adoption in the US has reached something of a plateau. While that could change over time, it's further evidence of the "post-PC" era we're now in. 

Internet adoption

Pew also found that about 60% of PC-Internet users had a "broadband" connection at home. Like the PC-Internet adoption curve, broadband adoption has hit a ceiling and may even be seeing a downward trend, with a decline in the number of home-based broadband connections in the past year.

Broadband and dial up adoption

Many people who do not have a broadband Internet connection at home are using smartphones as their primary way to get online. While many seniors and other older adults will probably continue resist smartphones, several groups that are among the 20% are adopting them.

Pew found that "young adults, minorities, those with no college experience, and those with lower household income levels who owned smartphones were more likely to say that their phone was their main source of internet access." About 25% of Pew's smartphone-owning surey respondents said that their mobile devices were their primary Internet access method.

Gadget ownership over time

Indeed, a portion of the 20% of US adults that don't have PC-based Internet access at home are getting online now through smartphones. However this "mostly mobile" Internet group includes adults who do have at-home Internet but prefer their mobile phones for Internet access for one reason or another. 

In a recent online survey we conducted (n=1,502 US adults) we found a slightly lower percentage (17.6%) of respondents who preferred mobile devices as their primary Internet access method:

  • Laptop computer -- 44.7%
  • Desktop PC -- 35.2%
  • Total mobile: 17.6%
  • Smartphone -- 9.3%
  • Tablet (iPad) -- 8.3%
  • Other -- 8.4%

Perhaps the most interesting observation is how smartphone ownership and Internet access impacts overall digital media usage. According to Pew people who use mobile devices to go online become much more active and engaged Internet users, including creating more content:

Once someone has a wireless device, she becomes much more active in how she uses the internet–not just with wireless connectivity, but also with wired devices. The same holds true for the impact of wireless connections and people’s interest in using the internet to connect with others. These mobile users go online not just to find information but to share what they find and even create new content much more than they did before.

Survey: 8.5 Million US Teens Have iPhones

Fortune's Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports on the results of the latest teen survey by investment firm Piper Jaffray. The survey polled 5,600 American teens, evenly divided between genders. The average age was 16. 

The following are a couple of the questions and answers from the survey:

  • Do you own an iPhone: 34% yes (vs. 17% a year ago)
  • Do you own a "tablet computer": 34% yes (vs. 22% a year ago)  

While the sample is very large, the question is: how representative of all US teens is this survey?

There are somewhere between 25 and 30 million teenagers in the US, depending on how "teen" is defined, according to the US Census Bureau. Thirty four percent of 25 million would be 8.5 million teens with iPhones. That seems plausible. Another 8.5 million teens have tablets/iPads by the same extrapolation. 

According to comScore's most recent figures 13.5% of US mobile subscribers own iPhones (or roughly 14.04 million people out of a total smartphone population of 104 million). These data points are from different sources but the numbers suggest that more US teens than adults own iPhones. That doesn't seem correct.

What's not exposed is the degree to which teens aspire to ownership of any other type of smartphone. Also not discussed is whether the tablet 34% of teens claim to "own" is actually theirs or owned by a parent. It would be interesting to know whether there are multiple iPads/tablets in the house.