Yahoo released mobile consumer data last week, based on an online survey of 8,384 people in the US (13-64). The published data focus on mobile shopping behavior and use of mobile devices while watching TV. While the findings reinforce existing data and consumer insights, they throw several opportunities into higher relief.
Mobile use in stores during shopping:
According to Yahoo, consumers want shopping-related mobile ads to include the following information: price, product features, benefits. Last year, InsightExpress reported that 82% of mobile phone owners in the US used their devices (in various ways) in stores.
What emerges from these data is a picture of a highly engaged consumer very close to the point of sale but also open to influence. They're looking to confirm the value and appeal of products both with data and with friends and family members. And they're going to look at relevant ads they encounter.
Mobiles & TV viewing:
Perhaps the more provocative findings released reflect simultaneous usage of TV and mobile devices. According to the research, "86% of mobile Internet users (and 92% of 13-24s) are using their mobile devices simultaneously with TV." This is mobile Internet users and not all TV viewers, obviously but it's a significant number. Moreover, 25% of respondents reported that while doing this (mobile Internet access) they are browsing content tied to the programming in some way.
This kind of simultaneous media usage pattern is well established already (especially among younger viewer-users). However historically it has been the laptop paired with TV. Over time I suspect mobile devices and tablets will uniformly replace laptops during TV viewing.
As with in-show voting via SMS, TV programs have the opportunity to offer ways to engage and capture users with mobile devices (send a text to receive more information, etc.). And as we've discussed extensively in the past, mobile can also be used partly as an analytics tool to measure the effectiveness of ads or promotions on traditiona media. Indeed, this scenario around mobile enhancing traditional media engagement/measurement is also true of radio and digital OOH.
Related to that, Yahoo discusses opportunities with mobile and impulse buying as well:
Mobile becomes critical for impulse, time sensitive buys and when a PC is just not available. 56% said it’s great when I am not near a PC/laptop, 45% said it’s great to research unplanned purchases and time-sensitive research, 41% use it for impulse buys.
A very personal experience and example of this came after I was listening to an author interviewed on the radio while driving. I was intrigued by the book and so, after I stopped, I pulled out my Android EVO and bought the e-Book through Kindle (via a single click). I later accessed and read the book on the Kindle app on my iPad.
If I hadn't had the phone with me and been able to respond while my interesting was high I would probably not have later bought the book online and certainly not made a special trip to seek it out in a physical bookstore.
On the heels of Verizon's embrace of the iPhone and speculation over how it may impact Android handset sales, ad network Millennial Media released December data showing that ad requests coming from Android handsets were now generating more impressions (and revenue) on Millennial's network than the iPhone.
This is consistent with sales data from comScore and Nielsen showing that Android has surged among recent smartphone purchasers. It's the first time that Android has collectively surpassed iOS devices on Millennial's network. However the iPhone remained the top single device, followed by the BlackBerry Curve.
Android's growth represented a 13% increase quarter-over-quarter, according to Millennial. Since January, Android has grown a massive 3130%. Smartphones now represent 60% of devices on Millennial's network (compared to 48% in May, 2010).
Simultaneously ChangeWave released some survey findings about potential switching to a Verizon iPhone.
The chart above indicates the percentage of mobile subscribers who plan to switch carriers without regard to any particular device. However the chart below shows that 16% of AT&T customers are stongly considering a switch to Verizon for the iPhone. Another 23% are ambivalent. The chief reasons for considering leaving AT&T were "poor reception" and "dropped calls."
If we interpret "don't know" in the chart above as "maybe," it suggests that almost 40% of AT&T customers surveyed may leave for the iPhone. If even the 16% make good on their impulse it would be significant.
The early evidence is that people are quite excited about the Verizon iPhone and we're likely to see high initial sales figures. A not-so-hidden benefit in all this for Apple is that a VZW iPhone blocks or will dilute some of the Android brand advertising.
Of course Verizon will continue to promote Android devices but without the hard-charging and almost offensive ads that attacked the iPhone as "feminine."
Now that AdMob is part of Google we're not getting the great monthly data and reports that we used to see from the company. But Google has just put out some new data on impression growth. The headline (literally) is that AdMob is seeing 2+ billion ad requests per day (on a global basis).
Google previously said that it had a $1 billion mobile advertising run rate. I did a quick analysis of how that billion might break down, assuming that mobile ad revenues were distributed along the same lines as paid-search revenue generally speaking.
IDC's revised US mobile ad numbers show Google as totally dominant over the rest of the field in terms of market share.
These figures below include search, which is 56% of mobile ad revenue in the US according to the firm. Almost none of the competing mobile ad networks and platforms have search ad revenue, which is why it's so lopsided in Google's favor. Just looking at display the IDC numbers look somewhat more balanced:
Somewhat at odds with recent Nielsen numbers, comScore officially reported this morning that Android had pulled ahead of the iPhone as the number two smartphone platform in the US. Nielsen and comScore agree that Android has the "mo," but Nielsen shows a different lineup with the iPhone in the lead followed by RIM and then Android.
Here are the comScore data:
Here are the Nielsen data:
There's a huge discrepancy regarding the RIM share figures. But the two agree on the Android numbers, which are 26% on both lists. The comScore data don't cover iPads or iPod Touch devices, which would probably boost Apple well above Android handset numbers today. However the Google OS is surging with scores of new devices being previewed at CES.
It will be very interesting to see what happens when the iPhone comes to Verizon. Is there pent up demand, as past suveys suggest, that will be unleashed or will Android continue to sell well after the introduction of a Verizon iPhone?
Nielsen put out some new US smartphone data showing Android's continued momentum, especially among new smartphone buyers. The iPhone is flat and RIM is in decline according to these data. There are two storylines here: "Android is unstoppable" or one that recognizes that everyone who's going to buy the iPhone from AT&T has already done so. In the latter storyline, it's Android vs. RIM across the three other carriers.
Both however are true to some degree. My view is that these numbers would be different if the iPhone and Android were equally available from all US carriers. We would see quite a bit less demand across the board for Android devices. That theory will be put to the test when the iPhone finally becomes available through Verizon.
However Apple's prolonged exclusive relationship with AT&T has clearly hurt the iPhone and given Android a chance to develop this momentum. Had the iPhone been more widely available it's very unlikely that we would see these same numbers. Yet the Android platform has matured. It is now a strong, competitive OS that excells in certain areas (e.g., voice actions, navigation).
Compare share among recent smartphone buyers (top) to smartphone share overall (below), where the field is much tighter.
Here are the most recent US smartphone share data from comScore for comparison. They show RIM still comfortably out front, with Apple and Google in a virtual tie.
Samsung has reportedly sold more than 10 million "Galaxy S" Android handsets globally (in seven months), according to several reports. The company is selling roughly 1.4 million units per month. The largest market is North America, followed by Europe and South Korea.
Late to the smartphone party, Samsung is on pace to become the dominant Android OEM globally. Motorola would seem to be the most vulnerable of the OEMs to the Korean electronics giant's Android gains.
Below are the most recent global and US OEM sales and market share figures according to Gartner and comScore:
Of course the Consumer Electronics Show is this week and we're going to see lots of Android devices. Verizon is set to announce the first 4G Android handsets for its LTE network. There will also apparently be a million and one Android tablets on display, from Lenovo, Toshiba, Motorola, Vizio and others.
As with Android handsets it will be a battle to differentiate on hardware features and price. Most of the new Android tablets will run Honeycomb, making the Samsung Galaxy Tab obsolete unless it gets the software upgrade. (Samsung says it has sold 1.5 million Galaxy Tabs, largely because of the smaller form factor; the UX is mediocre compared to the iPad.) One thing to keep an eye out for is sub-$200 tablets of reasonable quality.
The Verizon iPhone apparently won't be announced at CES and will instead be presented at a special Apple press event in February. At that time the company may also introduce its anticipated iPad 2 to respond to the Android tablet tsunami.
We're not attending CES and because it's such a "noisy" show, we'll only be selectively reporting on announcements coming out of it.
Millennial Media is out with its November SMART report. This month there's a focus on the financial services vertical.
Despite the rise in mobile banking it's not a category that one would automatically assume is well suited to mobile advertising and marketing. However Millennial reports that the category has seen more than 800% YoY growth in ad spending on the Millennial network. Perhaps that speaks to the versatility of mobile as an advertising medium.
Below is a graphic that reflects the breakdown in ad spending by sub-category.
What's also interesting is the wide mix of actions that these advertisers were trying to elicit from users. Top actions were "place call" followed by form submissions (lead gen) and application downloads. However the range of objectives and actions is very broad, including driving to fan pages, video and store locators/maps.
Turning to the broader mix of campaigns about half of those appearing on the Millennial network were targeted in some fashion with geo-targeting (broadly defined) being the most common form.
Compare June, 2010, when targeting was somewhat less on a percentage basis:
It may also be the case that on landing pages the broad reach campaigns are also refining or assisting targeting in some way -- for example with store locators.
According to IDC's revised US mobile ad numbers Millennial is third in mobile display, with a 15.4% share:
Millennial says it reaches 8 out of 10 mobile Web users.
A story getting a lot of comments and play this morning is last week's Fortune article: 2011 will be the year Android explodes. The story is about how cheaper chips will likely bring down prices of smartphones to under $100 and Android handsets in particular. The story, using analyst and OEM estimates, argues that Android growth next year will be explosive.
If the prices do in fact come down to $100 or less -- or handsets are fully subsidized by carriers -- we will see huge growth as the article suggests. Unless AT&T and (soon) Verizon are willing to be extremely generous with their subsidies, the iPhone will not be able to compete for the low-end of the market with Android -- although today you can get a refurbished iPhone 4 from AT&T for $99 and 3GS models for as little as $44.
Nielsen has long predicted that 2011 (now Q4) will be the year that smartphones cross the 50% threshold in the US. Morgan Stanley famously predicted earlier this year that 2014 would see mobile Internet access surpass PC access.
If nothing else this blog is dedicated to the idea that there are radical implications flowing from these developments and we've been discussing and speculating about many of them for that past few years. We also argued that Nokia, the dominant handset maker in the developing world, had much more to fear from Android than from Apple's iPhone:
Apple can't and won't offer low cost handsets to the market in these places; it's the premium brand and wants to ensure a uniform experience. Eventually we might see a single lower-cost handset from Apple (something like the iPhone Nano perhaps). But that won't be coming very soon, if ever.
Google by contrast doesn't have any of those same brand-related concerns. If there are lousy Android handsets in the market it doesn't really diminish Android the OS as a whole. There's room for much more experimentation on Android.
Apple has charmed and captured the "high end" of the market. Google and its OEMs are competing there but can also compete at the lower end with lower price points. That's the area where Nokia is dominant. But for how much longer?
Nokia may wind up adopting Android itself, but that remains to be seen.
Android is the "Windows of the mobile world." Apple is, well, the Apple: a premium brand that seeks to maintain higher price points and margins accordingly. Just as there are lots of generic and "crappy" PCs we're going to see plenty of crappy low-end Android handsets. The image above is of the Samsung Intercept, one of these lesser Android devices. But to someone coming off a flip phone it's a revelation.
If these low-cost Android handsets flood the market and become widely available, we'll see people trying to pair the best of lower-end Android handsets with the cheapest plans (i.e., Boost, Virgin). The only way for carriers to maintain the prices of their plans will be to limit the availability of the best handsets to their post-paid subscribers. Lesser phones on slower networks will be available to pre-paid subscribers.
Regardless, there's enormous room for growth in the US market from non-smartphone users. If we accept the Nielsen figure that 28% of US mobile phone subscribers have smartphones that means (of course) that 72% do not. Cheap smartphones paired with cheap data plans will drive a huge number of that 72% into the smartphone -- and mostly Android -- camp over the next two years.
One can never overestimate the impact of price on markets and consumer behavior.
The latest US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report on "wireless substitution" (for landlines) finds that "26.6% [of US homes] had only wireless telephones . . . during the first half of 2010. In addition . . . 15.9% received all or almost all calls on wireless telephones despite having a landline."
What this means is that 42.5% of US homes are mobile only or mobile centric. For the 16% that relies primarily on mobile phones, the landline has become a kind of "spam catcher" for unimportant calls.
Landline abandonment is not correlated with income status according to the CDC; "not poor" was the group that had the largest percentage of non-landline users. Note in the second graph below, 53% of those "not poor" have abandoned landlines.
There are all kinds of implications for market research and political polling, as well as telephone sales and marketing. Indeed, "robo calling" is not permitted to mobile handsets under law. Humans must initiate calls to mobile phones, making them much more expensive.
Search marketing firm Performics wrote a post earlier this month that features some interesting data about mobile search and mobile click patterns. Here's the very condensed and edited version of that post:
More evidence of the complementary nature of mobile and PC search:
Mobile search users rely on their handsets away from their desks, typically between the hours of 9-11AM and 6-9PM.
Mobile impressions tend to peak during the morning commute/early lunch period. Clicks, however, peak following work hours—between 6-9PM. This is also when mobile CTR peaks . . . users appear to be performing mobile searches for different purposes at different times of the day—searching for content earlier in the day and completing transactions later
What these data forcefully argue is that marketers should be trying mobile search now while it's still a bargain. The ROI is going to be higher than comparable PC-search campaigns.
Millennial Media's new Mobile Mix devices report shows Android's continuing incremental gains vs. Apple. Perhaps more interesting, it also holds some positive news for Windows Phones as well.
In Millennial's top devices list Apple now occupies the top two positions (with the iPad at 7), while the most prominent BlackBerry device (Curve, formerly #2) fell two spots vs. last month's report. Similarly the Motorola Droid gained two places to now reside at #3. Collectively Android handsets now have greater share on Millennial's network than the iPhone but not iOS devices as a whole.
The share of smartphones on Millennial's network was actually down 2 points from October (61%). In November Smartphones represented 58% of the devices there. By comparison Nielsen says that smartphones are now 28% of all handsets in the US.
The relative share of iPhones vs. Android devices was relatively stable (both with 38% of impressions). They were tied at 37% last month. In the ongoing iPhone vs. Android debate and narrative there are ways to spin these data to show Android now beating the iPhone and vice versa. The takeaways from the report will largely reflect Android's gains. However, yesterday Verizon data came out that showed surprising weakness at the platform's largest carrier-partner.
Millennial's devices ranking April, 2010:
The data in the chart below show developer intentions regarding platform support in 2011. What's interesting is the relatively high level of enthusiasm (in the abstract) for Windows Phones. Microsoft has not released sales figures suggesting that the platform has underperformed and that sales are less than hoped for. But this is a bit of good news. A strong apps catalog and developer ecosystem is critical for success in the current market -- although Windows Phones de-emphasize the role of apps in the use experience.
With millions in marketing spend Verizon "made" Android in the US to compete with AT&T's iPhone. Now Verizon may need the iPhone to prevent it from becoming too dependent on Android.
In addition the Asymco post argues that in Q3 "the iPhone at AT&T outsold Android [all devices] at Verizon by a factor of 2.5X." These data and analysis tell a very different story than the Garnter-IDC-comScore narrative of Android dominating the market. In fact they're a bit confusing because they seem dramatically in opposition to the "Android juggernaut" narrative.
It will be very interesting to see whether and by how much a Verizon iPhone impacts Android sales. Regardless, if these data are correct RIM should be extremely concerned. It still has the most units in the market but they seem to confirm the BlackBerry "doomsday scenarios."
Like maps and navigation Google has seen voice as a strategic area and invested heavily in it: Voice Search, Voice Input and Voice Actions. Most recently the company acquired Phonetic Arts to improve "voice output" on mobile devices.
Indeed maps/navigation and speech are the big differentiators of Android vs. the iPhone. Ad network Chitika said that about 7% of iPhone search queries (on Google) are voice initiated. By comparison, earlier this year Google reported that 25% of search queries on Android devices are initiated by voice.
In a meeting last week with Microsoft the company told me that about 20% of mobile queries on Bing are now voice driven. This number is obviously very consistent with Google's Android number. It suggests that over time more and more search queries and other types of actions on the phone will be initiated by voice.
Right now, I'm told, speech-input queries are quite similar to text-based queries. But as people gain more experience with speech and voice search on mobile devices we should see longer and more specific queries. We may even see more rapid growth of mobile search query volumes due to voice. As keyboard frustration and "friction" disappear search queries will grow.
Speech thus makes mobile search (vs. app usage) much more viable for consumers overall.
See related posts:
In the world of mobile advertising forecasts, perception can become reality. Everyone wants to be perceived as the biggest or at least having momentum. However forecasting is a shadowy business where the numbers can be badly off with incorrect or sloppy assumptions or facts.
One or more of these were true of IDC's previous US mobile ad estimate, which showed Google and Apple tied for market share in the US at 21%.
After the numbers came out in a BusinessWeek article there was something of an outcry, in part by Google (as well as others). Indeed, the company's earnings-call disclosure of its "$1 billion mobile ad run rate" was partly a response to the inaccurate IDC forecast.
Here are the old IDC numbers, released in September:
Now IDC has revised its numbers (Google said it feels better about them "directionally"). Google totally overwhelms the rest of the field in terms of market share. It's believable that Google would be in the lead -- but by this much?
Microsoft and Yahoo are reportedly down vs. last year and Jumptap is nowhere to be seen in the public data. I suspect they're in the 15.9% category that I dubbed other.
The Nokia N8 handset is being outsold by the iPhone in Europe 6 to 1 according to a Morgan Stanley survey of 150 European wireless phone retailers released last week. However the Nokia Symbian 3 handset is reportedly meeting sales targets despite this apparently poor showing.
According to Morgan Stanley's research here are the bestselling smartphones in Europe right now in order of volume:
My guess is that a year from now we'll see something in the high forty-percent range (say 48%). But very close to 50% if not 50%. This will be especially true if the pricing on smartphones continues to be as aggressive as it has recently been for the holidays. Best Buy for example is offering many models of smartphones (mostly Android) for free with two-year contracts.
BlackBerry has been doing aggressive two-for-one pricing for a long time. These sorts of pricing moves will continue to drive adoption and Android is likely to be the chief beneficiary. Although Radio Shack has reduced the price of iPhone 4 by $50 through the holidays.
When smartphones do reach 50% of the US mobile market it will be a very significant threshold both as a practical and psychological matter. No one will be able to ignore the behavior at that point or the query volumes coming from these devices. Mobile Internet usage will be primary for some people and perhaps certain demographic segments as a whole. For example, Opera recently found that "Gen Y" users were on the mobile Internet far more than its PC sibling:
The implications of this are pretty radical for both publishers and marketers. And remember 53% of mobile searches (on Bing) have a local intent.
The folks at BIA/K have updated their mobile forecast: $2.9B by 2014 in the US. I have some critiques of their assumptions, which I won't focus on now. But there's something in the press release that raises an interesting larger philosophical question around "accounting" and forecasting in the local-mobile ad space. It's an issue I've been thinking about for the past six months and this gives me an opportunity to write about it.
BIA/K says that local will represent 69% of US mobile advertising in 2014:
BIA/Kelsey expects U.S. mobile local advertising revenues to grow from $213 million in 2009 to $2.03 billion in 2014 (57 percent CAGR). This represents 44 percent of total U.S. mobile ad revenues in 2009, growing to 69 percent in 2014.
This is a huge percentage and it begs the question: "what's a local ad?" Accordingly this is the part I want to focus on:
BIA/Kelsey defines mobile local advertising as that which is targeted based on a user’s location and/or actionable locally. Local targeting occurs to varying degrees and with different methods within each of the advertising formats examined in the forecast (search, display, SMS).
Again: "targeted based on a user’s location and/or actionable locally." Let's unpack this a bit.
Arguably all product advertising in mobile is "actionable locally." For example a mobile display ad for a Sharp TV becomes "actionable locally" if it prompts me to head into a retail store and look at or buy the set. It may or may not have a "local call to action." And over on Screenwerk I've argued for five years that product search needs to be considered a part of local because that's where most of the transactions ultimately occur -- in stores.
But transaction-location swallows almost all commerical activity and some people may feel that's too broad a concept. Similarly "actionable locally" is vague. I believe what they're trying to get at however is something like a coupon that needs to be redeemed in a store or a business service that must be fulfilled offlline.
But here's an interesting hypothetical that illustrates the challenge with this idea. What about a Gap ad (discount/coupon) in a mobile app that equally applies at all Gap stores across the US? How should this ad be categorized; is it a national ad or a local ad?
It may target audiences across the US equally and it doesn't necessarily contain local ad copy (in fact it probably wouldn't at this stage). Maybe it's exclusively for in-store purchases but maybe there's an e-commerce component (which is increasingly true for retailers: channel agnosticism). There may be a secondary or subordinate link on a landing page to a store locator. Absent any other local copy does this store locator make it a local ad? (More on that later.)
There are several considerations that are relevant to defining a local ad in a mobile context: targeting methodology, ad copy and ad format. Because users who see ads on mobile devices are always somewhere that can be pinpointed quite precisely, every mobile ad has the potential to become local in a way not possible on the PC.
Millennial Media reported that in October roughly 18% of all display campaigns it saw were geotargeted. Here "geo" is defined quite broadly to include country and state. Given that marketers can target mobile users with great precision, what level of geo is required before we call an ad local?
Does an ad need to be targeted down to the DMA or city level to be considered local? Or would we be willing to call ads that target France, for example, or all of New York local? I don't have an easy answer but I would argue we'd need to get down to at least the DMA level. We could call a state-level ad "geotargeted" (because it is) but "local" implies something more narrow.
Now to ad copy. Clearly an ad that contains city-level references would seem to qualify as "local."
The ad below, from a JiWire-run campaign (online), was a national buy that dynamically inserted local references to make it appear more relevant to users in specific markets. But it did this across the US; it was not otherwise a "local" ad. There was no local call to action, no store locator; it was a pure brand campaign that happened to include location references. Is this a "local" ad?
Now back to the "store locator" issue. Recall my "first date with iAD." I saw an ad for Klondike Bars. There was nothing local in the content of the ad, except that it did offer a store locator of sorts ("find a bar"). Is this a "local" ad?
My view is that most brand-oriented ads in mobile are going to contain dealer or store finder capabilities as a matter of course. It will essentially be a "checkbox." This is because the phone and its functionality (maps) permit it -- so why wouldn't you do it? It makes brand messages actionable locally. Buick? Find a dealer. Klondike? Find a bar. Marriott? Find a room.
If we consider these local ads then more and more mobile display moves over into the "local" column. That raises a related issue: ads with phone numbers in them.
As I just argued mobile ads (whether search or display) will routinely have store locators or links to maps. But they will also increasingly show phone numbers too -- again because of the way the inherent capabilities of the handset can be invoked. Does a national, brand-centric insurance ad buy (e.g., State Farm) become local if it contains an 800 number that routes calls to local offices? What if it has a dynamically inserted local tracking number but no other local element?
While an ad for a local sushi restaurant is clearly a local ad (one town, one restaurant), some of these other scenarios (national --> local) are much more ambiguous. And as I suggested, location and local ad copy will increasingly be dynamically inserted based on a national database of locations, ad copy and images. Google is already doing this in mobile today.
There's somewhat less ambiguity when it comes to search advertising but not much less.
The focus for small business will be less on buying mobile advertising per se than getting exposure broadly across platforms via channel enablers. There will be some mobile-specific activity by SMBs (e.g., Foursquare marketing, Facebook Deals) but most marketing will not be mobile-centric. Indeed, very few true SMBs will be buying PPCall ads on Google. Most of the action for SMBs in mobile will be about organic distribution.
For the foreseeable future most of the "local" advertising on mobile devices will be bought by enterprises that otherwise seek regional or national reach but local stores, dealers or outlets. Thus we return to the various scenarios above and the question of what do we consider a local ad in mobile?
It's a much harder question to answer than it seems.
Under the broadest definition of "local" the category swallows the lion's share of mobile advertising going forward. And we can manipulate the definition of "local" to make the category larger or smaller. But where we place ad revenues is less important than how consumers are interacting with mobile devices and what sort of marketing or advertising methods are effective in reaching them.
So far eBay and Amazon are the king and queen of "m-commerce." Amazon said it will sell more than $1 billion through mobile devices this year, while eBay says it will sell $1.5 billion. In addition, eBay payments unit PayPal mobile is growing like a weed. According to a press release the company put out earlier this week, "PayPal saw an approximately 310 percent increase in mobile shopping on Black Friday."
Now eBay has put up an interesting site that exposes mobile purchases across its major markets. One can slice and dice the data in several ways: product categories, countries and "what's hot."
Amazon and eBay have been very aggressive and proactive in mobile, whereas most retailers and shopping comparison sites have no dedicated mobile offering or one which offers a limited or poor experience by comparison.
The Mobile Marketing Association previously released consumer survey data showing reporting that "59% of mobile consumers plan to use their mobile phone for holiday shopping and planning holiday celebrations, not including making phone calls."
While the majority of consumers will use mobile sites and smartphones for in-store price comparisons, reviews and store locators there is a big mobile commerce opportunity that only a handful are positioned to capitalize on. Mostly that means big, trusted brands like Amazon, eBay and traditional retailers. No-name retailers or generic shopping comparison engines may be utilized for informational purposes but they're unlikely to see much if any revenue coming from mobile.
There's now quite a bit of conflicting data in the US market about loyalty, satisfaction and intended future smartphone purchases. See, for example:
Nielsen has come out with some new survey based data that argues Android is starting to reach parity with the iPhone in terms of “most desired” next device and among men it slightly exceeds the iPhone:
Here are some of the findings from the firm's quarterly survey of just under 20K mobile users:
More interesting and important than the perpetual iPhone vs. Android discussion is the data showing smartphone penetration very close to 30% in the US. The data also show the iPhone and RIM now with an equivalent share of devices (27.9%) with Android not far behind (22%). It's not yet clear how well Windows Phone 7 is doing. There's some anecodtal evidence that it's not selling well despite generally positive reviews.
Again, these data are self-reported (and not based on unit sales) but the sample size was huge and so we can fairly reliably generalize the findings to the broader market.
With many smug spinmeisters and pundits proclaiming that the "smartphone wars" are over (with Apple and Google as winners), a new survey from GfK (n=2,653 mobile users in UK, US, Brazil, Germany, Spain and China) suggests a much more fluid marketplace.
The survey found that as many as 75% of current smartphone users are open to changing or will change mobile OSs when they get new phones. Overall only 25% were loyal to their existing OS. Analysis of the findings argues that consumers are "keeping options open" as new smartphones come out on a seemingly weekly basis. This is particularly acute on the Android platform.
The frenzy of releases and the fast-changing nature of the device market has likely created the "disloyalty" reflected in the survey data. However I would caution that the sample sizes break down and become very small on an individual country basis.
Among individual operating systems, the survey found that loyalty was highest to the iPhone (59%) and lowest for Microsoft (21%). Android and Nokia didn't fare much better (at 28% and 24% respectively). RIM saw 35% of BlackBerry users saying they would likely stay on the platform.
Earlier this year Nielsen found that the iPhone had slightly higher levels of loyalty than Android. But these findings showed much higher loyalty levels for both platforms and especially Android. Indeed, these US-only findings are dramatically different than those from the GfK survey.