Data And Forecasts

Mobile Web Usage Still Held Back by Screen Size, Speed and Cost

In February Antenna Software put out its second annual Mobile Internet Attitudes survey findings. The survey polled "a representative sample of 2,296 consumers, aged 18+ in the UK and 2,079 in the US."

Daily mobile Internet usage is growing but held back somewhat by an overall poor user experience (vs. the PC), slow rendering and perceptions of cost, according to the survey. 

The survey found that "one in five Americans use the mobile Internet every day." However 44% "failed to use the mobile Internet, despite having access to it on their mobile phone." Emarketer has a nice chart summarizing the usage frequency data from this survey (US only in the chart): 

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Antenna found that UK mobile users are slightly more active than US users: 34% of UK mobile users and 33% of US mobile users access the Internet at least once a week, up from 27% and 28% (respectively) in 2010.

Beyond this, 44% of US users said that they would use the mobile Internet more regularly if it were "similar to using the Internet on their personal computer" -- in other words, offered an overall better user experience. Here are the complaints according to the survey: 

Poor rendering and small screens:

  • 27% of Americans and an equal share of British users were "discouraged from using the mobile Internet by websites that don’t display properly on their mobile screens" and half of adults 18 to 24 complained about websites that didn't render well
  • 28% of U.S. and 32% of British consumers cite difficulty in navigating websites on a mobile device as a reason for not accessing the mobile Internet
  • 44% of men said the small size of mobile screens discouraged them from using the internet, vs. 38% of women.

Speed:

  • 36% of men said the mobile Internet was too slow vs. 29% of women
  • Users under 45 years old complained about speed; those under 55 were frustrated by the size of mobile web displays

Cost:

  • 33% Americans and 39% of British consumers believe that accessing the mobile Internet is too expensive

Speed will improve with 4G, although I don't share that criticism of the mobile Interent. Screen sizes won't get much larger on smartphones but tablets, especially 7" tablets, may address that issue for many people. The cost factor unfortunately is just getting more complicated for consumers.

As carriers try to migrate to usage-based pricing they create confusion and inhibit usage of the mobile Internet, which is their intention. Consumers don't really understand what the usage tiers and data limits mean; they want unlimited usage pricing. Carriers are moving -- or seeking to move -- in the opposite direction. Here's to hoping they're thwarted by competition. 

TeleNav 'Infographic' Unwittingly Indicts American Habits

TeleNav has a subscriber base of more than 20 million people, distributed over 600 devices in many countries. The company has done a good job of surviving the free navigation push by Google, Nokia and more recently Mapquest. It has an enterprise business as well as a direct consumer business. TeleNav also powers many of the carrier navigation services.

Earlier this week the company put out an "infographic" with some top-level US data about navigation usage. (As an aside I wish companies would stop putting out these so-called infographics for PR purposes. People pick them up, just as I have, but they make reading and understanding the data more difficult than it needs to be. It's a gimmick that should come to an end in my view.)

The chart shows that the top places US TeleNav users are navigating to. It also stands as a kind of unintended indictment of Americans' tastes and behavior. 

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The most searched/navigated locations are Wal-Mart, Target, Starbucks, Best Buy. McDonald's is in there at number 6. Navigational queries like this (name-in-mind searches) represent about 60% of local searches coming from mobile devices currently. Collectively Pizza, American (food) and Burgers represent about 63% of restaurant-related queries. And among them McDonald's and Pizza Hut figure prominently. 

Separately TeleNav conducted a survey of drivers and found, among other things, that:

Nearly 25 percent of both sexes reported sending at least one text message while driving per week. Men texted the most, with 36 percent of those who text while driving indicating they send an average of seven or more texts per week while on the road. In contrast, only 23 percent of women admitted to texting as frequently.

Below is a video demo of the current version of TeleNav (as AT&T Navigator):

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Mystery: Galaxy Tab a Top Android Device on Millennial's Network

Millennial Media's "Mobile Mix" report for February is out. It reflects device usage on Millennial's ad network, which the company says (per IDC) is the largest "independent" network, after Google and Apple. Among the stats offered by the company:

  • The VZW iPhone "represented 4.5% of all U.S. iPhone impressions on our network in the first two weeks following the launch"
  • Samsung's Galaxy Tab appeared as a "Top 30 Mobile Device," the first Android "connected device" on the chart
  • In terms of tablet's/connected devices more broadly Apple's iOS had 80% of the impression share; Android had 17% 
  • Android is the largest Smartphone OS on Milliennial's network for the third month
  • The iPhone remains the top single device followed by the iPod Touch

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Moving on, there are a number of interesting observations to be made from the "Top 30 Mobile Devices" chart below.

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The Galaxy Tab is the number 7 device on the list. In January Samsung announced that it had sold two million of the devices. However it was later forced to clarify that those were not sales to consumers but sales to distributors. The actual consumer sales figures are significantly less -- perhaps less than half the announced number. Indeed, while I've seen them in stores, I have not seen one in use in the world by an actual person. 

Take a look at the "Google Insights for Search" chart below. This is for the last 30 days but it looks very similar going back. There is effectively no demand, as reflected in search volume, for the "Xoom" or the "Galaxy Tab." Accordingly, given all the available evidence, we can safely assume that almost all consumer sales of the Galaxy Tab have stopped or declined to a trickle. 

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There are likely relatively few Galaxy Tabs actually in the market. This probably means that to be in the seventh position on Millennial's chart those few devices are getting very heavy usage -- especially in comparison to other Android smartphones.

Alternatively it could mean that sales of those devices below the Tab on the chart were fewer than the Tab itself. That would probaby be an incorrect interpretation however. More likely the data reflect that the Tab is being used much more than other Android devices and all the BlackBerry handsets, for mobile Web access.

This brings to mind InsightExpress' comment in its recent consumer insights report that there's a new "a middle category" of mobile users who technically own smartphones but don't engage with them as fully as, for example, iPhone owners. InsightExpress equally observed that this middle group doesn't act like feature phone owners either.

Extrapolating from the position of the Galaxy Tab vs. other Android devices on Millennial's network it would appear that a large percentage of Android users fall into this new middle category. 

Report: 67% of Those Under 35 Use Smartphones While Shopping

Since I'm writing about all these smartphone user studies I might as well throw in another one from Chadwick Martin Bailey. It takes up a range of questions surrounding shopping an mobile commerce. The data were drawn from an online survey of 1,491 adults during the week of January 20, 2011. 

The survey finds more than half of smartphone owners using them during shopping and the number jumps to 67% for those under 35. For iPhone owners the numbers are higher: 72% report they use their devices in-store. In addition, 41% of iPhone owners report making purchases on their devices. 

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The main things people are doing, according to this survey, are comparing prices, finding stores, seeking deals and reading reviews: 

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Here are the apps they report using on their smartphones. I'm a little surprised to see barcode scanning at the top: 

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Among the major platforms more iPhone owners buy things on their phones (if that's media or apps, it's because of iTunes):

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What are they buying? Here is the hiearchy according to the study:

  1. Entertainment (music, movies, TV)
  2. Banking
  3. Electronics
  4. Auctions (eBay)
  5. Travel 
  6. Apparel
  7. Personal care products
  8. Apps
  9. Restaurant/food related 

Finally many users express concerns about privacy and/or security with m-commerce and use of apps.

Report: 26% of App Downloaders Become Heavy Users

It seems like a perfect reverse bell curve: on one side are the 26% of users who will download and use an app once. On the other side are 26% of users who will become loyalists, using the app more than 10 times. The other 48% are in the middle and represent more casual users.

These data come from mobile analytics firm Localytics, which looked at thousands of new app downloads across smartphone platforms between July and September 2010. The firm then counted how many times the apps were used through March 2011.

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It would thus seem that building up that active core of loyal users -- assuming that the app itself is worthy of usage -- is entirely a function of download volume. And download volume is a function of visibility and consumer awareness. 

Yahoo: CTR on Mobile Web Campaign 30X Higher than PC

Yahoo released a mobile white paper called "Mobile Internet – Delivering on the Promise of Mobile Advertising." It's part one of a series. There's a great deal of mobile consumer data in the document. The report covers multi-screen usage (TV + mobile) and tablets in addition to laying out some general mobile consumer behavior numbers and trends.

Citing third party data the report asserts that by the end of 2011 there will be 126 million mobile Internet users. Currently there are more than 90 million in the US according to Nielsen. I would estimate that at the end of 2011 mobile Internet users will number closer to 150 million.

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Yahoo cites survey data that shows about 50% of consumers claim they purchase an item after researching it on mobile, while "90% of mobile owners access the web from the retail store floor." Google has slightly different numbers but they're broadly consistent (79% of smartphone owners use their phones while shopping and 74% purchased something as a result). 

Yahoo also identifies mobile Internet usage patterns, which appear to be largely parallel during week days and on the weekend. Google and others have argued that PC and mobile usage patterns are complementary. 

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Here's Google's data about PC and mobile Internet "daypart" usage (via Efficient Frontier). It shows a slightly different pattern than the Yahoo data above.

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Mobile Internet use is high in the home, as well as on the go. Yahoo said that 89% of mobile users access the mobile Internet at home. In addition, "86% of mobile Internet users surf the Web while watching TV, often searching for information on advertised products."

Mobile devices thus need to be thought about by marketers and publishers in a more holistic sense. Consumers are using them in the home and in conjunction with other media. This media mutlitaksing was previously done via laptop in front of the TV. I would imagine laptops are quickly being replaced by smartphones and tablets. 

Finally Yahoo says that when online and mobile advertising are combined there's a significant lift. This is the same argument that has been made about search and display: "1 + 1 = 3."  In addition, in terms of effectiveness Yahoo cites case studies that show significant mobile performance gains over PC:

  • Click-through rates on a mobile web movie campaign were 30x higher than the PC counterpart
  • Recall scored 15% higher among users who viewed a mobile ad than any other channel

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See related post: Report: 43% of Mobile Internet Usage Happening in Home

Report: 43% of Mobile Internet Usage Happening in Home

InsightExpress (courtesy of @jliuzzo) released some terrific mobile consumer survey data today. InsightExpress found that 40% of mobile phone owners under age 45 have smartphones. Overall more than a third of US mobile phone owners now have smartphones. In addition, InsightExpress identified a middle category of mobile users who technically own smartphones but don't engage with them as aggressively and fully as, for example, iPhone owners. However they don't act like feature phone owners either. 

InsightExpress found that 43% of mobile Internet usage is going on at home, which is both very interesting and going to be somewhat challenging for marketers. 

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Top three activities done at least once per week by smartphone owners:

  • Text: 81%
  • Email: 69%
  • Mobile Internet: 62% 

Eight seven percent (87%) of mobile phone owners have used their phones "in a store;" 56% of smartphone owners have visited a retail store website on their phones. 

When it comes to receiving marketing messages, consumers appear to overwhelmingly favor email vs. other methods: 

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Mobile coupons

According to the survey, more than 1/3 of smartphone owners "look for or use coupons in-store." Grocery is the top category, followed by "general retail," "clothing" and restaurants. In terms of how they wanted to receive coupons on their phones, here were the top three preferences: 

  • 25%: Have them sent to me via text message
  • 18%: Get them via email on my phone
  • 17%: Text in to receive them when I’m in a store  

Interestingly only 8% (the smallest group) said they wanted to receive coupons as a reward for checking in. This no doubt reflects the smaller adoption of LBS/check-in applications vs. mobile email and SMS -- which people are much more familiar with.

In addition, "50% say they have made a special trip to a store after receiving a mobile coupon."

QR Codes:

17% of smartphone owners have downloaded a QR reader application (concentrated in the 25-34 year old group, with males, and iPhone and Blackberry users).

M-Commerce:

18% of mobile phone owners have purchased something through their phones. The number jumps to 35% for smartphone owners.

As the chart below reflects, consumers will purchase over their mobile devices provided they have an incentive and/or the friction is taken out of paying, through a stored credit card or carrier billing -- so they don't have to enter 16 digits on the small screen.  

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InMobi: Android Gains Global, iPhone Top Device

Mobile ad network InMobi today released its "Mobile Insights Report: Global Edition January 2011." The report effectively covers all major regions of the globe and there's a trove of data from each continent. I'll focus only on North America and global data.

The company reports that smartphones now represent 36% of global ad requests on the InMobil publisher network, up from 24% -- just three months ago. Most of that growth has been driven by Android. But most ad requests (84%) are coming from mobile Web vs. apps (16%). 

Unlike in the US where Android is now the top smartphone platform, Nokia and Apple outstrip Android on a global basis. However Android's growth is much greater than that of the iPhone and Nokia is declining by almost as much as Android is growing.

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In North America operating system share appears like this to InMobi:

  • Android: 37%
  • iPhone: 24%
  • RIM: 11%

InMobi explains that Android has gained 21 share points in just three months to become the largest OS in North America. 

These numbers are not an absolute reflection of market share but what InMobi sees in terms of handsets and operating systems making ad requests. In terms of individual handsets, the iPhone continues to dominate on InMobi's network globally and in North America.  

Global device share: 

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North American device share: 

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It's clear from the totality of all the available data that Android's gains are coming through the sheer number of devices in the market. Windows isn't on the radar for InMobi in North America. And RIM appears to be getting overwhelmed by the Android onslaught. 

Google Surging, iPhone Flat, RIM Falling in Latest comScore Metrics

There have been a flurry of reports from Nielsen and comScore that have now consistently established Android outselling the iPhone. But now Google has become the clear dominant smartphone platform in the US.

Last Friday when Nielsen put out mobile market share numbers showing that Android had topped RIM and Apple, comScore rushed out a chart showing something similar. However today comScore released its more complete mobile marketshare data:

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The impact of the Verizon iPhone is still not reflected here -- the iPhone is flat on a percentage basis -- but Android's momentum continues to grow impressively. And look at RIM; it's slide continues. 

Immediately below is December data for comparison purposes: 

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The following is comScore's data on mobile content usage, which is all pretty flat: 

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In the chart app usage is growing faster than browser usage, though browser penetration remains greater by a little under 2 points.

It would be interesting to discover whether these Android users are upgrading from feature phones or BlackBerry devices. It's curious to me that we have all these new Android handsets in the US market but not that much more mobile Internet usage. 


Report: Android Tops iOS, RIM, Attracting Younger Users

Nielsen has released some new US data that shows, in terms of the OS, Android pulling ahead in the US of RIM and Apple: 

  • Android (29%)
  • RIM Blackberry (27%)
  • Apple iOS (27%)

However when the firm looks at hardware OEMs it finds that "RIM and Apple [are] the winners compared to other device makers." Apple and RIM have 27% share each, while HTC has the largest share of the individual Android OEMs.  

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Nielsen also reveals some smartphone demographics. It shows Android as generally more popular with younger users.

That's no doubt a function of the fact that Android offers a range of inexpensive devices and increasingly with prepaid carrier plans.

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Here's comparable comScore data confirming the Android lead:

U.S. Smartphone OS Share

 

Will Mobile Move to a CPA Model?

I presented yesterday at a conference called SEMpdx, which is a search conference in Portland. My presentation was on "Mobile Marketing Strategies & Tactics." Reid Spice of iCrossing was my co-presenter. Prior to the session we had an informal discussion about mobile search, CPC pricing and "inadvertent clicks" on mobile ads. The latter was tied to a survey that got fairly wide (and uncritical) attention at the end of last month. The survey was sponsored by mobile lead-generation company Pontiflex and conducted by Harris (in December, 2010).

There were a wide range of findings from the survey, which was conducted either twice or in two parts and had more than 4,000 total responses from US adults. The survey asked a number of questions about apps, advertising and mobile user behavior. However the big headline and finding that got all the attention was "47 percent of mobile app users say they click/tap on mobile ads more often by mistake than they do on purpose."

Other survey findings included the following: 

  • Almost two-thirds of mobile app users selected ads that contain coupons, deals or newsletters as their preferred in-app mobile ad type
  • Mobile apps are popular across all age groups; usage is highest among users 18-34 years old

The press release pulled out a piece of segmented data that is even more pronounced: "61 percent of mobile apps users ages 18-34 click/tap on mobile ads by accident more often than on purpose." The "message" conveyed by these findings is that people frequently click ads by mistake and so clicks are a false metric and unreliable as a measure of the efficacy of mobile advertising. Let me say that I absolutely agree with that statement; clicks are a false metric that mobile marketers should walk away from. 

However there are a couple of problems here. Self-reported data and "behavioral data" are often inconsistent. In other words, what people say they do and what they actually do may not always line up. So as a fundamental matter we don't know whether people are in fact clicking by mistake more often than not. And we don't have a "control" or baseline metric for the PC to compare it against. It could well be that there's a high incidence of mistaken clicks online.

As an aside the audiences that click display ads online are "a small, unrepresentative portion of the total online population." According to comScore (2009), "4% of Internet users account for 67% of all display ad clicks." Thus clicks are a really bad metric for the efficacy of display ads on the PC. Yet lazy marketers still use CTR as a measure of ad effectiveness. 

Most of the coverage of the Pontiflex survey turned into a kind of "telephone" game that ultimately distorted what the publicly released data said. The coverage, and especially the secondary coverage based on the first stories, turned into: "half of all mobile clicks are inadvertent." 

In fact we don't have any sense of what percentage of mobile clicks, according to this survey, may be "bad." We know that 47% of these survey respondents think (key word) that more of their clicks than not are unintentional. It could be. But I'm surprised that nobody who covered this was critical or sought to drill into the data for more information. 

I don't disagree with the argument that Pontiflex makes about engagement, lead capture and other KPIs being better vs. clicks. And if these Pontiflex data are supported by other findings from others we could see marketers make a push toward CPA (publishers prefer CPM of course). Networks like OfferMobi are also pushing CPA as a better mobile metric too. One might argue that mobile is better suited to CPA than online in many respects because mobile user behavior is more "action-oriented" than PC user behavior. 

If CPA does become the standard in mobile display -- we'll probably see a mix of models however -- that, in turn, might influence online advertisers as well to demand or gravitate toward CPA. Search marketing, whether online or in mobile, will largely remain CTR-based however. 

Android Outsold Apple in Q4 but App Monetization Is No Contest

In Q4 and for the past six months Android handsets have outsold Apple's iPhone. However Apple still commands leadership in several areas, including mobile Web OS share in Europe and the US. And if you look at mobile app revenues the gap between iOS and Android is staggering.

The headline being trumpted today is "Android app store revenues grow 861 percent." But take a look at the 2010 actual share of revenues generated by the various app stores:

  • Apple: 82.7%
  • RIM: 7.7%
  • Nokia: 4.9%
  • Android: 4.7%

This again reflects the relatively poor monetization performance of paid apps in the Android market.

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Related posts: 

A Third of iOS, Android Apps Grab Location: Report

Security firm Lookout has put out its "App Genome Report" for February. There's a lot of interesting data about iOS and Android apps and apps stores in there. However I want to focus on two areas of the findings: location and advertising.

Under the heading "personal info," Lookout reports the following about apps that seek user contact information and location: 

  • The Apple App Store has a higher prevalence of apps with the capability to access contacts and location than the Android Market.
  • 28% of all apps in the Android Market and 34% of all free apps in the Apple App Store have the capability to access location.
  • 7.5% of Android Market apps and 11% of Apple App Store apps have the capability to access users’ contacts.

Apple apps individually request location at the time they're launched or initiated. Typically Android apps notify users of an intent to access location at the time of installation or an update. I would expect the Apple model (or something even more transparent) to become a standard that forthcoming privacy regulations seek to enforce. 

Turning to advertising, Google's AdMob dominates monetization for both iOS and Android. However iAd seems to be growing for iOS.

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It's striking to see how much more highly penetrated AdMob is than other networks, especially in the Android Market. Accordingly one could argue that Google owns both search and display in the two most important smartphone marketplaces. 

Millennial Media: Apple Regains Momentum, Android Dominates Ad Requests

Millennial Media put out its monthly "Mobile Mix" device and OS report reflecting the top operating systems and devices accessing publisher sites on its network. The report showed a renewed surge by Apple devices, but Android remained the top smartphone OS. The company also exposed some global OS metrics from Stat Counter.

Here are the highlights:

  • Apple, the leading device manufacturer represented 26% of the Top 15 Manufacturers impression share in January, a 24% increase month-over-month.
  • Apple iPod Touch reclaimed the number two position on the Top 30 Mobile Devices list in January
  • Android continues to lead iOS as the largest Smartphone OS for the second consecutive month, with a 54% impression share in January
  • HTC grew 36% in January to claim the number two position in the Top 15 Manufacturers Ranking
  • Symbian impressions grew significantly in January, increasing 24% month-over-month
  • Wi-Fi experienced a 21% increase month-over-month in January. The increase in impression share of Connected Devices month-over-month contributed to the increase in Wi-Fi

Here are the smartphone and OS share figures on Millennial's network for January:
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Compare November, 2010:

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Smartphone penetration has grown and Android has dramatically grown. Apple's OS now accounts for slighly more than half of the ad requests on Millennial's network. Below, however, is global OS market share, showing Android with about half the penetration of iOS. 

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Mobclix: iPhone Users More Valuable

Velti's Mobclix put out some data a couple of days ago that shows iPhone users are more "valuable" than Android users. Some apps categories are more valuable than others. But across the board, iPhone users buy more and spend more than Android users on apps. Part of that is the lack of a widely penetrated and easy to use payments infrastructure for Android however.

Here's the Mobclix "infographic" showing the differences in value between iPhone and Android users in various app categories:

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Once again, it's iTunes that is largely the explanation behind the discrepancy here.

As a kind of related aside, I've seen it reported in several places that Android users "click more" than iPhone users. Mobile ad mediator/exchange Smaato reports on the display ad CTRs of the users of the various operating systems. (Note: CTR is the wrong metric to use to evaluate the efficacy of display ads.)

In December Smaato found that iOS users clicked much more than Android users. But mid-2010 data shows the opposite. Has Smaato has changed its methodology? Are iAds responsible for higher clicks/engagement on iPhones? Or, as Android has grown have CTRs simply become diluted?

It's a curious change. All the operating systems are in roughly the same position except iPhone and Android users, which changed places: 

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Apps Beat Browsers for Time Spent: Report

GSMA, the organization behind the Mobile World Congress, commissioned research in January that showed mobile apps generally beating the browser for time spent. The research had a global scope and was performed by European mobile analytics company Zokem

However apps vs. browser access differed by category according to the findings:

News, search and commerce apps and sites receive much more usage still from mobile web browsers, with 86%, 85% and 66% of mobile web browser users using them monthly. Only 22% of web browser users access web-based email services, and only 18% use games through a web browser. For email, native apps reach 76% of smartphone users monthly, and games reach 45%.

Multimedia related services, like online music and video, are predominantly used through native apps rather than a smartphone web browser. Apps and web browsing usage patterns, therefore, are quite different, and the usage balance between browsers vs. native apps is driven by the type of app in question.

Mobile apps are responsible for 667 minutes of use per user each month according to Zokem. Compare messaging (671 minutes), voice (531 minutes) and web browsing (422 minutes).

Social networking apps (the category is not clearly defined) consume "almost 10 percent of all smartphone 'face time.'" Facebook and YouTube are the most heavily penetrated social media apps. (I disagree with YouTube being characterized as social media.)

The study found that iPhone and Android owners used roughly 15 apps per month; BlackBerry and Nokia owners used about half that number (8). The iTunes store and Android Markets enjoyed 95% reach with their users, while Blackberry App World has 50% reach and Nokia's Ovi store reached less than 30% of Symbian users. The data also showed that "iPhones generated more than 200 percent more traffic per month on average than Android devices."

Contradicting some other data and claims in the market the study found smartphone usage declined on weekends but "averaged more than 70 minutes per day with apps capturing more face time than any other activity at weekends."

Opera's State of the Mobile Web January

Opera's state of the mobile web report is back. The company says that in January it had nearly 100 million users globally. It's interesting to note that no Android phone is in the top 10 in any of the three markets I present below. However this may only reflect Opera Mini and not Opera Mobile usage.

Nonetheless, it's curious that Android is now so large in the US but not among the top handsets for Opera. Opera Mini and Mobile are available on Android.

Does this reflect the sufficiency and general satisfaction with the Android browser or simply inertia on the part of Android users? 

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Last Year in Mobile, According to comScore

Comscore's newly released "digital year in review" report contains a number of charts and data points about mobile. It's basically a compilation of the material and data they regularly put out about market share and common mobile user activities.  

There's no new or startling information here. It's merely a summary of the most recent data at the end of 2010 about OEM, mobile OS and carrier market share. The data should not be taken as completely accurate but rather directional and reflective of trends.

Here are a few of the charts:

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Pew: 89% of Those under 65 Have Mobile Phones

The latest Pew Internet report tells us a good deal of information we already know about device ownership and penetration among US adults. Based on a Q3, 2010 telephone survey of roughly 3,000 US adults the chief value of the survey its demographic information and the historical tracking of the same questions and responses over time.

I've pulled out a few of the charts below. The first one shows the penetration and growth of various categories of devices during the past four years. The noteworthy data point here is the decline of the desktop PC.

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At this point mobile phone ownership among adults is at or above 90%. According to Pew, it's 89% on average among US residents under age 65. Among those under 35 the numbers are 95% or more (if teens were to be included). Unfortunately Pew stubbornly doesn't seem to ask about feature phone vs. smartphone ownership.

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There are roughly 238 million US adults according to the 2010 Census. If we extrapolate the Pew figures it means that just over 200 million US adults (using the 85% overall average) have mobile phones. However these figures are probably low.

CTIA puts the number (including teens) of wireless subscribers at 293 million. While it's true that some people have two phones (e.g., BlackBerry, iPhone) most people do not have multiple subscriptions.

The four major US wireless carriers report roughly 272 million subscribers according to their most recent filings (rounded):

  1. AT&T: 95 million
  2. Verizon: 94 million 
  3. Sprint: 49 million
  4. T-Mobile: 34 million 

The iPad/tablet findings are also interesting. There is a separate chart and question for eReaders like Kindle; these data don't include Kindle or other, comparable eReaders accordingly.

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A major caveat here is that these figures don't include Q4 2010 (holiday buying). About 15 million iPads have been sold globally to date, a majority of which are still in the US. 

Apple, RIM, Android Tied; Windows, WebOS MIA: Nielsen/NPD

The latest missive in the never-ending "who's winning  the smartphone wars" discussion came yesterday as Nielsen released US smartphone OS data. In addition to general market share, the firm sliced the data by race and ethic group.

Apple is the leading platform among Asians/Pacific Islanders, while Blackberry is the leader among African-Americans. The numbers are not so significant as to enable demographic targeting by race or ethnicity on the basis of handset ownership -- although non-whites have higher smartphone penetration rates according to Nielsen. 

More significantly the company now says that there's a "three-way tie" between Android, RIM and Apple in the US smartphone market. Essentially Apple/iPhone is flat, while RIM has lost significant momentum and Android has gained dramatically. 

smartphone-OS-share

However in the past six months it's all about Android, reflecting the barrage of new handsets and the broad distribution of those units across all the major US carriers and, increasingly, the pre-paid carriers too. 

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It will be quite interesting to see what happens at Verizon with the iPhone over the next month. Online orders begin tomorrow. Assuming some lift/growth for the iPhone the question becomes: what's going to happen with RIM? The Canada-based company continues to sell lots of handsets and see growth outside North America but its outlook continues to worsen in the US market. 

RIM may maintain healthy revenues but investors will flee if they sense that the trajectory is negative and that BlackBerry is losing ground, which these and other numbers indicate. 

Regarding Windows Phones, we had heard Microsoft report that OEMs had shipped lots of devices to carriers. The company was under pressure to reveal some numbers as tech journalists interpreted  the company's silence as an admission of poor sales performance. However, when it released the OEM-carrier numbers consumer sales figures were not reported. Now, according to data from NPD, Windows Phones were reportedly outsold by predecessor Windows Mobile devices (which is kind of amazing because of their inferiority):

Apple iOS share declined 4 percentage points to comprise 19 percent of unit sales in Q4; RIM OS fell 2 points to tie Apple’s 19 percent; Windows Mobile, Microsoft’s legacy OS, fell 3 points to 4 percent, as the new Windows Phone 7 OS debuted at 2 percent; and Palm’s WebOS held at 2 percent.

These numbers may be a statement about brand awareness or the degree to which Apple-Android-RIM attention is crowding out everything else in the US market. (Nokia's not on the radar but will likely be embracing Android soon to try and get back into the US market.)

Microsoft has continued to invest in its Online Business Services unit despite losing money quarter after quarter. Will the company be similarly patient with the mobile OS or will it, after several lackluster quarters, feel compelled to make a move on RIM or even Nokia? Today RIM's market cap is $31 billion, Nokia's is roughly $40 billion. 

It would seem that WebOS (HP) is all but dead and, notwithstanding the promise of tablets and new handsets, will have difficulty reviving consumer interest.