Data And Forecasts

Nearly 40% of Smartphone Owners See Mobile Payments in Less Than Five Years

Last week eBay reported that it will realize "more than $10 billion in mobile volume for the year from its mobile apps and PayPal expects to transact more than $10 billion in mobile payment volume." Those are big numbers. If we visit some of the mobile payments forecasts the numbers get much bigger. 

Yet consumer surveys in the US and elsewhere reveal consumer ambivalence and even indifference to mobile payments. It does vary by age however, with younger users indicating greater interest than older people.

A survey we fielded in August (n=926 US adults) found that roughly 29% of respondents had varying degrees of interest, whereas 71% were "not at all interested" in mobile payments.

"How interested are you in using your mobile phone to pay for things as a replacement for cash or your credit cards?" 

  • I'm not at all interested: 71.3%
  • I have limited interest: 14.8%
  • I'm fairly interested: 7.2%
  • I'm extremely interested: 6.8%

In our survey people under 45 years of age were considerably more interested than people who were older. A new survey from Harris Interactive is more bullish on the outlook for mobile payments however, with smartphone owners reflecting much greater interest in mobile payments: 

“How interested are you in being able to use your smartphone to process in-person payments via tapping a special receiver, rather than using cash or payment cards? 

  • Very interested in using my smartphone instead of cash or cards: 8%
  • Somewhat interested in using my smartphone instead of cash or cards: 19%
  • Not very interested in using my smartphone instead of cash or cards: 12%
  • Not at all interested in using my smartphone instead of cash or cards: 43% 

In other words 27% were "Very" or "Somewhat Interested" while 57% were "Not Very" or "Not at All Interested." This was the full sample population. The following were the smartphone-only responses: 

  • Very interested in using my smartphone instead of cash or cards: 16%
  • Somewhat interested in using my smartphone instead of cash or cards: 28%
  • Not very interested in using my smartphone instead of cash or cards: 16%
  • Not at all interested in using my smartphone instead of cash or cards: 30% 

Thus "Very" or "Somewhat Interested" came out to be 44%, while "Not Very" or "Not at All Interested" was 47%. Quite a bit more interest accordingly. 

Smartphone owners in the 18-47 age range were most interested in mobile payments according to the Harris survey. In addition, 38% of smartphone owners saw mobile payments replacing card-based transactions "for a majority of purchases" within five years.  

Despite Better Performance, Mobile Ads Considered Just a Notch Above Spam

Mobile advertising is typically quite a bit more effective than comparable ads on the PC. Indeed, the data show that mobile search and display consistently outperform their PC counterparts. Yet mobile ads (especially display and SMS) are viewed with skepticism and distrust and rank near the bottom of all ad categories in consumer surveys.

This is something of a paradox to say the least. For example, Marin Software's Q3 aggregated client data report indicates the following about the relative performance (CTRs) of paid search ads on the PC, smartphones and tablets:

  • PCs: 2.35%
  • Tablets: 3.22%
  • Smartphones: 5.07% 

You might be quick to respond that smartphone click-through rates could be attributable to the so-called "fat finger" problem thus distorting their true performance. This problem -- and we can debate the extent of its reality -- doesn't really exist in a paid-search context.

These clicks are from intent-based queries and thus more inclined be "real" and reflective of a buying intent. In a display context an unintended click may be somewhat more likely. However mobile display outperforms PC display advertising across the board and consistently across studies. 

Screen Shot 2012-12-12 at 12.01.43 PM

According to 2011 Nielsen US consumer advertising-trust survey data (above), personal recommendations and traditional media ads are near the top and mobile ads are the least trusted of all the major ad categories. 

A more recent Millward Brown consumer survey (Q3 2012) found much the same thing. Mobile ads were at the bottom of favorability rankings among all ad types. The list below just shows digital categories: 

Screen Shot 2012-12-12 at 11.48.11 AM

There's no easy way to explain the apparent contradiction between negative consumer attitudes toward mobile ads and their otherwise superior performance to categories more trusted or ranked more highly.  

Mobile Devices Will Outnumber PCs Very Soon

If you're inclined to believe financial analysts then mobile device ownership (smartphones + tablets) will trump PC ownership on a global basis some time next year. At some point in the next 3 to 5 years we may have as many or more tablets than PCs. These are radical changes in the marketplace that are still slow to sink in with publishers and advertisers unfortunatley.  

The essential thing to understand is that tablets are PC replacement devices in most usage scenarios. Smartphones are used both at home and on the go. They tend to complement PC or laptop usage generally speaking. To accomodate these users and usage scenarios much in advertising, mobile site design and e-commerce has to change. 

The following chart from Pew lays out US device ownership and trends over the past six years.  

Screen Shot 2012-12-11 at 9.18.20 AM

PC ownership (including laptops) has really peaked in the US at about 61% according to the Pew survey data. Mobile phone penetration is 85% (smartphones at 50%+) and tablets at 25% (after the holidays it will be greater). 

So what does this all mean in terms of real numbers? It means that if there are roughly 250 million US adults then there are:

  • 152 million laptop owners (+ some additional number of desktop PC owners) 
  • 212 million mobile phone owners (and about 108 million adult smartphone owners)
  • 62 million tablet owners 

If teens are included there are more than 120 million mobile internet users today in the US. That's just over half the total PC internet population.

A new forecast from Informa Telecoms argues that the mobile phone market will be dominated on a global basis by sub-$150 devices by 2017. Regardless of the accuracy of that prediction, prices are indeed coming down. That means more smartphone penetration and more mobile internet access.

What it also means is that PC-centric publishing, e-commerce and advertising will need to give way to a multi-platform approach and a more nuanced and sophisticated understanding of consumer behavior -- amid an even more challenging attribution environment. 

Examination of Apps Shows Small Minority Share Location

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today released a study of privacy and mobile apps for kids. The report was a follow up to an earlier study issued in January. Both reports were highly critical of app developers and app stores. Both found that parents weren't given enough information to assess privacy policies and whether or how their kids' information was being used. 

The FTC looked at 400 apps (randomly selected) that were directed toward kids. The agency compared privacy policies and actual practices. It found: 

[The] industry appears to have made little or no progress in improving its disclosures since the first kids’ app survey was conducted . . . most apps failed to provide basic information about what data would be collected from kids, how it would be used, and with whom it would be shared.

In a few cases privacy policies were directy contradicted by actual practices and the FTC called these apps deceptive and potentially illegal.  

The report's findings are interesting and potentially important for the debate over mobile privacy. However the specific finding I want to focus on here has to do with the number of apps that transmitted location information to ad networks. 

Mobile apps (for kids) that share information with developers and ad networks 

 

Source: FTC 

Only 3% of apps that transmitted information back to developers and ad networks shared location data. The iPhone makes that process more explicit than does Android. But when location isn't shared there can't be any location-based ads.

Apps for kids aren't ncessarily representative of the entire universe of apps. Indeed, location may be much less of a factor in apps for kids. But the data may be directionally consistent with the market as a whole, inducating how relatively few apps today offer opportunities to display location-based ad inventory. 

Is This the 'Breakthrough Quarter' for Windows Phones?

You can't turn on the TV, Internet or open a publication without encountering an ad for Windows Phones. And there are conflicting data about whether it's working and the corresponding strength of Windows Phone sales.

Several data sources continue to indicate tepid demand in North America but there is also some evidence that Windows Phone sales may be going reasonably well in certain parts of the world. The blog WMPoweruser identifies growth in the usage of Facebook apps for Windows Phones and extrapolates an increased sales trend on that basis: 

Using the number of Monthly Active Facebook users as a guide, we can see around 627,000 MAU of the built-in Facebook app has been added since the 1st October 2012, the start of the quarter.

Last year over the same period less than 150,000 was added by the 15th December, possibly hinting at the source of Steve Ballmer’s statement that “Windows Phones are so far selling at four times the rate of the same time last year” Last year according to Gartner, who claims to measure units actually sold to end users rather than shipments, said 2.759 million Windows Phones were sold in Q4 2011.

The data suggests already 7 million Windows Phones were sold so far this quarter, and we may finally be heading to a + 10 million Windows Phone quarter.

If in fact Windows Phones were to sell 10 million units to end users it would indeed be a breakthrough for the beleaguered platform. However there's other data to suggest that Windows Phones are not doing as well as that. For example, the most recent comScore US mobile market share data show that Windows continues to lose overall share to iOS and Android:

 

There are also recent sales data from Kantar Worldpanel that show Windows Phones losing share in accordance with the comScore data above:

However in Europe Windows Phones are making some inroads, probably as a result of Nokia's promotional efforts and legacy brand strength. While the EU5 shows a 4.7 percent market share (growth of 1.7% vs. a year ago) individual countries vary widely.

In Italy, Spain and the UK Windows Phones have performed better than in Germany and France. In Italy in particular Windows Phones have gained almost 8 points and now stand at an 11.7 percent share of recent sales according to Kantar. Again, this is probably on the strength of the Nokia brand in Europe.

Elsewhere around the world Windows Phone sales appear to be modest. However in "urban China" Kantar says Windows Phones contstitute 4.2% of all recent smartphone sales.  

It is possible that all these sales combined represent several million units around the world. But while there does seem to be momentum in certain countries it doesn't yet appear that this is a 10 million unit "breakthrough quarter" for the operating system. 

Mobile Apps Challenge TV for Temporal Supremacy

Flurry Analytics has been chronicling the rise of the app ecosystem and the growth of app usage by consumers for several years. In January of this year the company released data arguing that daily time spent with mobile apps had surpassed the PC internet: 94 minutes vs. 72 minutes per day. And earlier today Flurry released an analysis of US consumer time spent with mobile apps vs. television.

Ad network InMobile asserted earlier this year that consumers are now spending more time on a daily basis with mobile media than they do with TV:

[M]obile ranks first in media consumption among Americans with 2.4 hours of the 9 hours spent consuming media on mobile devices—this is more than a quarter of time spent on mobile, outpacing TV (2.35 hours), PCs (1.6 hours) and any other channel.

However according to the data compiled by Flurry, consumers are spending 127 minutes per day with mobile apps compared to 168 minutes per day with TV.  TV time is basically flat, or slighly down according to Nielsen, while app-time is gaining according to Flurry. 

Flurry US Web vs App TV Consumption resized 600 

Nielsen itself says that people in the US spend roughly 4 hours and 18 minutes per day on average with conventional TV (vs. 168 minutes [2.8 hours] in the Flurry graph). That would be about 2X of the time spent with mobile apps, using the Flurry figures.

The question of whether time spent with mobile already exceeds TV time or closing in on it is largely symbolic. The larger point is that consumers are highly engaged with mobile devices and the mobile internet. That trend will only continue to grow and gain in the next several years. Mobile ad spending, however, is nowhere near commensurate with the kind of time and attention that consumers are spending with mobile media. The chart below (also courtsey of Flurry) illustrates the huge disparity between the two.

Screen Shot 2012-12-05 at 9.26.28 PM

Mary Meeker has argued that, based in part on this familiar time-spent formula, mobile advertising is basically a $20 billion opportunity in the US. That may be the case eventually -- though advertisers and their agencies aren't totally "rational." But in the near term are many barriers to the free flow of ad dollars into mobile right now: organizational politics and culture, lack of advertiser education, lack of budget and perhaps most of all lack of "clear ROI." 

It took a very long time for online advertising to attract the kind of ad dollars that were more or less consistent with consumer time spent online. It won't take quite as long for mobile to ramp. But it could still be a number of years before mobile marketing and advertising are significant budget items for the majority of advertisers.

For their part consumers are mostly indifferent to whether or how soon companies embrace mobile marketing and advertising. While they prefer mobile friendly sites and user-experiences they don't particularly care if marketers are fully exploiting mobile ad opportunities.

However, if marketers do not as the Thanksgiving holiday weekend has already proven, it will be their missed opportunity. 

The Most Interesting Mary Meeker Slides about Mobile

Former Morgan Stanley financial analyst, now KPCB partner, Mary Meeker did one of her patented blizzard of stats/data dump presentations at Stanford University the other evening. The slides (available here) are essentially an updated version of a presentation given earlier this year. 

You know most of the material by now. However, below are the most interesting slides I culled from a much longer set. They go to device adoption and mobile ad revenue projections. 

Screen Shot 2012-12-04 at 11.57.33 AM

The noteworthy thing about the above chart is that it argues there are 172 million smartphone subscribers in the US. If that's true it would mean a smartphone share of something like 68% or 73% depending on the base used. This is undoubtedly high. But it's not unreasonable to argue that there may be 60% smartphone penetration by the end of Q4 in the US (or early Q1). 

From the chart below: there may not in fact be 5 billion individual mobile phone users around the world. There are "only" 7 billion people on the planet. It's probably more accurate to assert there are something like 5 billion subscriptions/SIM cards (there are some dual subscriptions). Still the global smartphone growth opportunity is massive. 

Screen Shot 2012-12-04 at 11.58.14 AM

The following chart is based on Pew survey data, showing that 29% (as of earlier this year) of US adults owned a tablet or eReader. Tablets are going to be the number one electronics gift item this year. We could be looking at 80 million total tablets in the US in Q1 2013. 

Screen Shot 2012-12-04 at 11.58.37 AM

What's most interesting about the slide below is that it projects tablet ownership to pass PC ownership by the end of next year; in other words: more tablets than PCs. This may be a aggressive forecast but it's not out of the question. 

Screen Shot 2012-12-04 at 12.00.05 PM

The final slide is about mobile advertising and app revenue. There are many sources behind this projection. It envisions a $20 billion global market by the end of the year, with mobile advertising around $6 or so billion. 

Screen Shot 2012-12-04 at 11.59.17 AM

US mobile advertising was worth roughly $1.2 in the first half and is on track to be somewhere between $2.6 and $2.8 billion for the full year 2012. Globally mobile ad revenues will probably reach between $5.5 and $6 billion by the end of Q4 this year.

Nielsen: 79% of Mobile Consumer Time Spent with Apps

Social networks and social-mobile apps are undeniably mainstream at this point. Indeed, mobile is where much of the growth is happening for social media. A new report, compiled from Q2 data and issued by Nielsen, illustrates this and compares time spent and access by media device.

What the data show is that the amount of time people are spending with mobile devices (vs. PC) is growing and that mobile apps continue to be where mobile time is concentrated. Along with smartphone and tablet penetration, mobile time overall has grown vs. 2011 but growth has been concentrated in mobile apps. They see roughly 79% of consumer time with mobile media and the mobile internet. 

Mobile media time overall is now roughly 43% of the time spent on PCs as of Q2 2012. 

Screen Shot 2012-12-03 at 9.20.17 AM

Mobile use of social networks tends to show slightly higher levels of engagement than on the PC. In mobile, as on the PC, women tend to be more engaged than men. But the most engaged groups are slightly different in each category.

The most engaged group of mobile social media users is the 25 - 34 age range, whereas on the PC it's the 18 - 24 year old cohort.

Screen Shot 2012-12-03 at 9.21.20 AM

The following chart illustrates that among the major social sites, Facebook dramatically leads in terms of time spent (although Instagram isn't present on this list). In addition, time is roughly divided 85% mobile apps vs. 15% mobile web. And while the ratios are slightly different for each social media publishers the directional trend is the same -- toward mobile apps.

Screen Shot 2012-12-03 at 9.22.04 AM

Nielsen also looked at the major ways in which consumers connect to the Internet generally. It found that the PC was still the dominant way but that PC penetration was down slightly since a year ago. By contrast, as you might expect, mobile access to the Internet has grown significantly on smartphones and especially on tablets.
Screen Shot 2012-12-03 at 9.23.09 AM
Marketers who continue to ignore or only nominally address smartphone and tablet users -- especially app users -- are losing access to an increasingly large user base and may be doing their brands and reputations harm in the process.

Shipments vs. Traffic: Market Share Data that Really Matter

Numbers are everywhere as we head into the final month of 2012 -- an undisputed "year of mobile" -- and many sources have released loads of market share and device penetration figures over the past week. Some of those numbers are meaningful and some are not.

Among them ad network Millennial Media put out some monthly device figures this morning, based on ad impression share on its network. I'll take a quick look at those numbers and then discuss some of the other recent device data in the market, with an emphasis on tablets.

The iPhone is the single most prevalent device (and has been so for several years) on the Millennial Network. It generated 16% of all the ad impressions in Q3, while iOS devices in total generated 31% of all Millennial's ad impressions. Collectively Samsung devices (phones, tablets) were responsible for 24% of impressions; the second most prevalent device OEM.

RIM devices were responsible for 7% of ad impressions, which is now basically on par ith the company's overall market share in the US. There are no Windows Phones in the top 20 on Millennial's network. Windows Phones (Lumia in particular) has sold reasonably well in select countries in Europe (i.e., Spain, UK, Italy). However they have not sold well in the US. 

Screen Shot 2012-11-29 at 6.45.57 AM

While Apple is the leading manufacturer and has the leading device on the Millennial network, Android devices dominate collectively -- with 52% of all impressions, compared with 34% for iOS. This share breakdown is almost identical to comScore's September US smartphone market share data.  

Finally Millennial ranks the top tablets on its network (see graphic above). The iPad leads, followed by the Samsung GalaxyTab, Kindle Fire and others. Tablets will clearly be one of the most popular holiday gifts and the top electronics item sold in Q4. 

It's curious to see the Acer and Motorola tablets on Millennial's list. From a sales and traffic standpoint there are now effectively three tablets in the market: the iPad (and Mini), Google's Nexus tablets (mainly the Nexus 7) and Kindle Fire devices. While the Nook and Galaxy Tab have some market presence they're essentially "also-rans" at this point. The Galaxy Tab has had greater success in Europe.

A new report from ABI Research claims that the iPad's share (of shipments) fell to 55%, down 14 points in Q3. Lower-priced tablets from Google-ASUS and Amazon are driving a lot of sales to be sure. Indeed, Amazon made the claim earlier this week that Kindle device sales more than doubled over last year. 

But collectively we need to get rid of "shipments" as a market-share metric. It's widely used because it's easier for analyst firms to track than actual sales. However it's not meaningful in any sense. As an industry we need to shift to actual device sales or even other metrics such as web traffic/transactions. This past weekend's data have shown this.

What do sales matter if devices aren't widely used or are used for very limited purposes. For example Kindle Fire devices, though they're selling well, are essentially used to consume Amazon content. They don't show up very often on internet traffic reports. And while the impact of Nexus devices has yet to be fully felt, the broader notion (promoted by the ABI report) that Android tablets now constitute nearly half the devices in the market is misleading.

As widely discussed earlier this week, the iPad is the only tablet right now that appears to matter in a "real world" sense. According to this weekend's e-commerce data from IBM, the iPad generated 88% of tablet traffic on Black Friday and more than 90% on Cyber Monday. 

In Q2 ad network Chitika found that the iPad was responsible for almost 95% of the tablet traffic on its network. Other publishers and e-commerce sellers report similar results: so far the iPad is the only tablet that matters.

E-commerce site Fab.com has said that 95% of its mobile sales come from iOS devices. And tablet content platform Onswipe has said that the iPad is responsible for a remarkable 98% of all tablet-based traffic to the company's publisher partner network. Based on global web traffic data from Q2 this is what actual usage market share looks like:

tablet OS faceoff

Despite Android's dominance in terms of device penetration the majority of mobile web traffic in the US (not to mention transactions) is coming from iOS devices. And when it comes to tablet traffic alone, there is no Android surge. 

There may be a lot of Android tablets out there but engagement and usage levels are far below the iPad.

M-Commerce Cyber Weekend Gains & the Android Paradox

There's lots of news today about the role mobile is playing in the just-started holiday shopping season. Most notably IBM reported a couple of days ago that on "Black Friday," mobile buying "soared with 24 percent of consumers using a mobile device to visit a retailer's site, up from 14.3 percent in 2011. Mobile sales exceeded 16 percent [of online commerce], up from 9.8 percent in 2011."

But even more noteworthy than the increasing role that mobile is playing in holiday shopping, is the discrepancy between iOS and Android in terms of web traffic and user purchase behavior.

Source: IBM

Call it the "Android paradox." In the US Android handsets represent 52.5% of smartphone market. Apple's iPhone holds 34.3%. The share that is controlled by iOS is larger when the iPad is factored in but Android is the dominant OS in the US and globally. 

When you look at mobile internet visits, however, the relationship shifts -- with the iPhone and iOS driving much more web traffic than Android. Apple's devices also generate much more in the way of e-commerce sales vs. Android. Website Fab.com reports that 95% of its mobile sales are coming from iOS devices. 

IBM reported that 58% of consumers (of the 16% who bought something on a mobile device) used smartphones to shop for deals, while 41 percent used tablets. Here's how the traffic distribution broke down on Black Friday in the US:

Screen Shot 2012-11-26 at 1.49.07 PM

Source: IBM

The iPhone and iPad combined for the bulk of mobile shopping, while on the tablet side the iPad generated 88% of the traffic in its category. There's something very strange about the fact that iOS users generate much more internet traffic and mobile buying than their Android peers -- given that there are more Android users out there. 

There have been various attempts to explain this traffic and commerce discrepancy, chief among them the theory that Android owners are less sophisticated, affluent and engaged. While there's clearly some validity to this theory it doesn't entirely explain what's going on. 

Which Tablets Will Sizzle and Which Will Slump During the Holidays?

One of the most eagerly sought electronics products this year is the tablet. We should see millions of them bought over the holidays. Indeed, tablets will be an enormously popular gift item. But which one(s) will be successful and which ones will fade?

Today, for "Cyber Monday," Amazon is promoting the upgraded Kindle Fire (with special offers) for $129 vs. its normal $159 (reduced from last year's $199). This should generate quite a few sales.

However the Kindle Fire is not as popular on Google as the company's own Nexus 7 or the iPad Mini. According to data released by Google earlier today the following are the Top 10 Google Search Shopping Queries (today):

  1. Nexus 7
  2. Laptop
  3. iPad mini
  4. Kindle Fire
  5. Television
  6. Tablet computer
  7. xbox 360
  8. Amazon
  9. Wii U
  10. Leappad 2

Meanwhile PriceGrabber shows a somewhat different list of "most searched" electronics products:

  1. Google 7 7" 32 GB Wi-Fi Black Tablet
  2. Insignia - 42" Class - LED - 1080p - 60Hz - HDTV
  3. Latitude ST 10.1" 32 GB Wi-Fi Black Tablet
  4. Galaxy Tab 2 7" 8 GB Wi-Fi Titanium Silver Tablet
  5. iPad with Retina Display 4th Generation 9.7" 16 GB Wi-Fi White Tablet
  6. Polk Audio - Blackstone 5.1-Channel Home Theater Speaker System
  7. Galaxy Tab 2 10.1" 16 GB Wi-Fi Titanium Silver Tablet
  8. DLP Projection TV

Both of the above lists indicate the Nexus 7 is the most "searched for" tablet out there -- even the most popular product. However, over at Amazon Kindle Fire and other Kindle devices dominate the electronics bestseller list.

Finally, a recent consumer survey Opus conducted (n=1,048 US adults) asked "Are you planning to buy a tablet computer this holiday season?" Here were the results:

  1. No: 85.4%
  2. Yes, iPad (Mini or original): 6.3%
  3. Yes, Kindle Fire: 3.5%
  4. Yes, Microsoft Surface: 3.1%
  5. Yes, Nexus 7: 1.8% 

In our survey Nexus 7 was the least desired of the tablets and iPads were the most popular. All this data seems to suggest that iPad, Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire will do well, while Surface, Nook and other "no name" tablets will generally be ignored and suffer.  

Where Do Mobile Users Get Their Deals and Coupons?

There's a relatively common perception that "daily deals are dead." What's more accurate to say is that the daily deals "bubble" has burst and consumers are burned out on push email marketing, where many of the deals are irrelevant to their interests or needs. But it would be inaccurate to say that "deals are dead." 

Coupons and deals remain popular among consumers and mobile users in particular. According to data from Nielsen, xAd and Telmetrics, the three top reasons that a mobile user would engage with an ad are the following:

  1. The ad is locally relevant
  2. There's a coupon or promotion
  3. It features a familiar brand

Consistent with the findings above, "search for/receive mobile offers" (especially locally relevant ones) is one of the top three "mobile commerce" activities that users engage in according to 2012 data from the US Federal Reserve and JiWire. They also search for coupons on smartphones while in stores according to multiple surveys and behavioral studies. 

A new set of data from Nielsen tries to identify where mobile users get those deals and coupons. A majority get mobile vouchers from retailers directly (sites/apps), followed by deal of the day sites/apps.

Screen Shot 2012-11-22 at 6.27.33 AM

 

Among the daily deal apps Nielsen found that the "usual suspects" were the most often used: Groupon, LivingSocial, Google Offers and AmazonLocal (LivingSocial). Amazingly, of those who have sought out daily deals on their smartphones, 91% have done so through the Groupon app. 

Screen Shot 2012-11-22 at 6.27.46 AM    

This shows that relatively few daily deal vendors have any brand awareness and usage beyond these major sites. But among them Groupon is far and away the leader. 

Apple Devices Most Desired by US Tweens -- Especially the iPad

Apple's products constitute four out of the top five most-requested gifts by US kids (under 13) according to a recent poll by Nielsen. Among those over 13 the iPad still ranks as the most desired object for the holidays.

In the 6-12 age group, "tablet other than the iPad" shows up in 8th position but Microsoft Surface specifically appears second from last on the list, just ahead of Apple TV. In the over-13 age group, non-Apple tablet is 3rd though Microsoft Surface and Kindle Fire are lower on the list. Microsoft Surface is again second from the bottom on the over-13 list with a lower percentage of respondents interested than in the under-13 cohort. 

The sample size wasn't disclosed and the question asked isn't technically about the holidays but about purchase interest or intent "in the next six months." However these requests will probably register in December. If parents comply it should be a very good quarter for Apple. Below are the full lists. 

Kids under 13:

 Screen Shot 2012-11-21 at 7.34.18 AM

Kids 13 and over: 

Screen Shot 2012-11-21 at 7.37.37 AM

Opus is in the midst of a consumer survey asking about which tablet they intend to buy over the holidays. In our survey (still in process) 85% of respondents said they weren't planning to buy one now. However the age group most interested is 25-34; 21% say they plan to buy a tablet in the immediate future.

Overall, among those who've said they're planning to buy a tablet during the holidays, the ranking is as follows:

  1. iPad/iPad Mini
  2. Kindle Fire
  3. Microsoft Surface
  4. Nexus 7 

IAB: Smartphones Aggressively Used for Shopping, Not Commerce

The IAB just released its second mobile shopping report, including its ranking of the most "mobile savvy" cities in the US. Houston, remarkably, comes out on top for a second year. Houston is also the "fattest city in America" according to Men's Fitness magazine.

The mobile shopping study also found surprisingly high numbers of users who owned "connected devices" (tablet and/or smartphone). The numbers here are much higher than Nielsen and comScore figures for smartphone ownership. According to the data the San Francisco Bay Area had the highest smart device penetration at 78%. Among the top DMAs Detroit was lowest with 62%. I suspect these numbers are not entirely representative of the mobile subscriber population and a bit high -- though perhaps not radically so.

Screen Shot 2012-11-20 at 9.07.36 AM

The IAB report, which draws from a variety of survey and data sources, confirms that smartphone users are aggressive and engaged mobile shoppers but they generally don't buy things on those devices (tablets are different). The IAB (citing comScore) reports that 86% of US smartphone owners visited retailer websites or used retailer mobile apps in July.

Screen Shot 2012-11-20 at 9.09.23 AM

The graphic above doesn't entirely make sense (81% vs. 85.9%) but it makes the larger point that most smartphone owners are accessing retail information on their devices.

In stores smartphone owners use their devices to communicate with other people about intended purchases, check prices and product information and look for deals. However only 5% in this survey bought anything with their mobile handsets. 

Screen Shot 2012-11-20 at 9.08.33 AM

The report also confirms that most tablets are not used "on the go," while shopping. However that may change with the advent of carrier-supported 7-inch tablets and the 5-inch Galaxy Note (also obnoxiously known as a "Phablet"). 

Screen Shot 2012-11-20 at 9.08.53 AM

This is just one more set of data that underscore the importance of being "mobile ready" and fully understanding how mobile can be used for customer acquisition and customer service, even in stores. Mobile is an instrument of "showrooming" but it can also be an avenue for customer service and retention among traditional retailers. Yet most are simply not ready

iPhone vs. Android Is Quickly Turning into: Apple vs. Samsung

The battle between Apple and Android is quickly turning into a face off between Apple and Samsung as the latter obliterates all other Android competitors. This morning Samsung announced massive Q3 profit, while IDC estimated that the Korean conglomerate had shipped just under 57 million smartphones in the quarter.

By comparison Apple sold just under 27 million iPhones in its fiscal Q4, which ended September 30. 

idc q32012 520x327 Samsung widens global smartphone lead, as Nokia drops from top 5: Report

A noteworthy aside related to the chart above, Nokia is gone from the ranks of the top global smartphone vendors.

In contrast to Samsung, HTC, which had been one of the early leaders with Android, is now really struggling. The company saw a nearly 50% decline in revenue for Q3. In part because it's getting squeezed out of the Android market by Samsung's success, HTC has turned its attentions back to Windows in an effort to diversify revenues. 

However, unless or until Windows Phones start to gain share, the smartphone landscape is really about Apple and Samsung. Everyone and everything else is just an "also-ran."

Opera: North America Sees 70% of Global Ad Requests

A few years ago Opera bought mobile ad mediator AdMarvel. Today the company released its Q3 State of the Mobile Web report, which focuses on advertising. It features some great data about platforms, revenue categories and CPM rates. All the data are drawn from Opera's global network of publishers and advertisers representing 40 billion ad impressions per month.

One of the major findings is that 70% of mobile ad impressions are happening in North America (mostly the US). Asia is next and then Europe. 

 Distribution of ad impressions globally

Opera also reported eCPM rates by region. The global average eCPM was $1.31, with the US average slightly higher at $1.37 and Europe lower at $1.13:

  • US eCPM -- $1.37
  • EU5 eCPM -- $1.13
  • Rest of World -- $0.73

Opera reported on ad revenue by smart device. The company said that iOS devices generated more revenue and higher eCPM rates than competing devices: 

Once again, this quarter, iOS leads the pack in monetization performance with an average eCPM of $1.64. This outperforms the global average eCPM of $1.31 by over 25%.

Screen Shot 2012-10-25 at 3.46.52 PM

The iPhone and iPad in particular saw higher eCPM rates than other devices. Interestingly, despite the much larger number of Android phones, the iPhone generates roughly 2X Android revenue for Opera. 

The company also pointed out that while RIM/BlackBerry is losing share in global markets its position remains strong in the UK. 

Opera said that the category "Business, Finance & Investing" generates more ad revenue than any other in its network. It also said that 73% of Opera's mobile ad revenue is coming from apps (vs. mobile Web).

You can review the full report here

Pew: Democrats Morely Likely to Make Digital/Mobile Campaign Contributions

Based on a survey of 2,010 US respondents, the Pew Internet Project found that about 1% of mobile phone owners had made a presidential campaign contribution through their mobile phones. This compares with 13% of all US adults who've made a contribution (using any method) to one of the presidential candidates in 2012.

By comparison, roughly 10% of US adults "have made a charitable donation of any kind using the text messaging feature on their cell phone." Among the 13% who've made a presidential campaign contribution, Pew says:

  • 67% donated "offline" (in person, over the telephone, or through the mail)
  • 50% donated online (including via email prompt)
  • 10% donated by sending a text message from their mobile phones or using a mobile app

Regarding party affiliation and contributions, Pew found that "16% of Democrats and an identical number of Republicans have made a contribution to a presidential candidate . . ." However most Republicans make their contributions "offline," while Democrats "are much more likely" to make a digital contribution:

  • 57% of Democratic campaign donors have contributed online or via email, compared with 34% of Republican donors.
  • 15% of Democratic campaign donors have contributed via text message or cell phone app, compared with 6% of Republican donors.

Earlier data from 2012, generated through surveys from UC Berkeley, Google and IPSOS, show that between 20% and 35% of US adults have made purchases (of one sort or another) on their mobile phones. It's not clear, however, whether these numbers include buying music or mobile apps -- probably yes.

Over time more and more people will simply use mobile devices to do what they would otherwise do on a PC, including making political contributions. In addition, people will become increasingly comfortable using stored credit card data to buy things with their phones. 

To get more of the "lowdown" on mobile payments come see my panel at the Open Mobile Summit in San Francisco on November 7. The session is "Wallet wars: Mobile payments from theory to practice" and will feature speakers from PayPal, Google, HomeDepot and Visa.

Revisiting My 2012 Mobile Predictions

For several reasons I had occasion to look back at some of the mobile predictions I made in January. At the risk of sounding self-important or boastful many of them have come to pass. In fact I was somewhat surprised by the number, which is why I'm posting about it now.

For review, here are the original predictions from January:

  1. 2012 ends with 65% smartphone penetration in the US
  2. Android reaches 60%+ smartphone penetration by the end of 2012
  3. Voice search: Siri expands its reach to many more third party services; Google and Microsoft beef up their competitive voice offerings
  4. Apple launches its own mapping service for iOS
  5. RIM’s co-CEOs resign in 1H 2012
  6. Windows Phones see modest but not huge success in North America, greater success in Europe/Asia
  7. Major smartphone security (hacking/virus) event happens this year (most likely on Android handsets)
  8. Mobile payments see continued growth but 2012 isn’t the “breakthrough” year
  9. Tablets galore: 100 million tablets in market by the end of 2012 (globally). The iPad represents 65% of the market
  10. Google announces mobile ads “run rate” of $4 billion (in Q4)
  11. Facebook launches mobile advertising in 1H 2012
  12. Amazon buys a mobile ad network (Millennial or Jumptap)

Here are my comments and updates on each item:

  1. The smartphone penetration number (per Nielsen) right now is 55%; we'll probably end the year close to 60%
  2. Android smartphone market share in the US is 53% now (per comScore), probably going to 55% - 57% by the end of Q4 2012
  3. Siri has been beefed up and its structured data sources expanded. Google has answered to some degree with "Google Now" and related voice assistant; however Microsoft hasn't done anything significant in this arena beyond its core voice search. 
  4. Apple Maps launched of course
  5. RIM’s co-CEOs both resigned in the first half
  6. Windows Phones have continued to lose share in the US market (per comScore) but have seen some modest success in other markets
  7. Android malware has dramatically increased but there has been no single cataclysmic event 
  8. Mobile payments and wallets continue to make incremental gains (see Apple Passbook) but 2012 isn't the "breakthrough year" 
  9. The iPad's market share is about 68% on a global basis today. Roughly 84 million iPads have been sold to date and many millions of other non-iOS tablets. I suspect the 100 million threshold will be crossed by the end of Q4 if it hasn't been already
  10. Google announced a mobile run rate of $8 billion, with probably 70% to 75% of it being ad revenue. 
  11. Facebook did launch mobile advertising 
  12. Amazon has not (yet) bought a mobile ad network

Not bad . . .

Google: $8 Billion Mobile Run Rate, 75% Probably Ads

Under some pressure to show that it's monetizing mobile, yesterday on its earnings call, Google announced a new "mobile run rate" of $8 billion. That compares with a run rate of $2.5 billion a year ago. The numbers aren't a direct comparison; Google threw everything into the $8 billion figure (ads, Google Play, app sales).  

Here's what CEO Larry Page said in announcing the new run-rate number yesterday: 

This time last year, I announced that our run rate from mobile advertising hit $2.5 billion . . . But now, we’ve built up additional mobile revenue from users paying for content and apps in Google Play . . . I can announce our new run rate for mobile is now over $8 billion. That’s quite a business.

CFO Patrick Pichette added a small amount of additional clarity: 

The new [mobile] run rate is different from the one we gave you a year ago. And more specifically, last year, it included only our gross revenue from mobile ads, but this year, in this number we also added the gross revenue from the mobile sales of Google Play content. And finally, it also includes the consumer spending on the Play apps . . .

[O]f the three categories I gave you, ads continues to be the bulk of it, the vast majority of it. And then on the case of the Google Play, it’s important to note from a modeling perspective that everything’s that’s content, that is whether a book, a movie content is actually booked on our books on a gross basis . . . Everything that is tied to apps is booked on a net basis, but it’s still a huge kind of number in all cases.

Pichette said the "vast majority" of the $8 billion in revenue was comprised of mobile ads. Trying to estimate what percentage of this figure is ads with greater precision than "vast majority" is a bit tricky. 

Google is counting content sales on a gross basis and app sales on a net basis (30% of the total). Despite Android's larger footprint than iOS, Google Play makes less money than the iTunes App Store. 

 

Revenue Comparison   iOS vs Amzn vs Android updated resized 600

In March, Flurry said that revenues in the Google Play market were 23% of the App Store. However this was limited to app sales and not content (if I'm reading it correctly). Google includes content sales (movie rentals/sales, book sales) on a gross basis.

Apple makes roughly $4 billion annually on App Store sales according to financial analyst estimates. Twenty three percent of that would be $920 million. If we assume that Google Play app sales have increased since Q1 Google night now be seeing a $1 to $1.5 billion app sales run rate on a global basis. 

It's harder to estimate gross content sales; I haven't seen any estimates of Google content sales at all. Google's content sales are nothing like Amazon's. However, let's be extremely generous and say that it's $2 billion (gross) on an annualized basis.

Using these extremely loose estimates, $5 to $6 billion of the $8 billion run rate would be attributable to ad sales and $3 to $3.5 billion to content and app sales. Pichette's language "vast majority" to me implies something around 70% to 75% (or more) of the $8 billion is ad revenue. That would be right between $5 and $6 billion. 

Is Mobile Driving Down the Price of Google CPCs?

Google inadvertently released its Q3 revenues early today. The company reported that consolidated revenues (including Motorola) were $14.1 billion, a 45% increase vs. last year. Google said that Motorola brought in $2.58 billion. However there was an operating loss of $527 million. Indeed it was argulaby the weak link in the Q3 earnings report.

Minus Motorola, Google's revenues were $11.5 billion with 67% of that coming from Google sites vs. its third party network and other revenue sources. Paid search clicks grew roughly 33% vs 2011. However cost per clicks (CPCs) were down about 15% vs. last year. 

While Google has yet to directly address this, the reason for the lower CPCs is likely the growth of mobile search and the shift of some categories of queries to mobile devices from the PC.

Mobile search volumes have grown significantly; however marketers value mobile clicks less than PC search clicks. The main reason is the challenge of proving ROI. Consistently we see that mobile click-through rates (CTR) are higher than on the PC. But "conversions" are much lower. 

Part of the reason may be the infamous "fat finger" problem. But the larger issue is how marketers are defining and tracking conversions. The e-commerce-centric way of thinking about conversions just doesn't work for mobile. Most users don't transact on their smartphones. They go into stores -- where 95% of retail spending happens -- or they follow up on PCs and tablets later to buy. 

Because marketers can't generally track in-store transactions or later PC/tablet conversions they assign a low ROI to smartphone based queries. This in turn causes them to bid less on those keywords.

In the local segment, there's a shift going on from PC map-based queries to smartphones. A Google representative recently said that up to 50% of mobile search queries carry a local intent. And comScore recently documented that trend and argued that map-based search on the PC had peaked and was now in decline: 

In the past six months alone, according to comScore Mobile Metrix, the number of smartphone visitors to Maps websites and apps has jumped 24% to 92 million unique visitors – a monthly penetration of 83% among smartphone users . . .Searches with a Mapping/Navigation intent on the Big 5 Engines are down 34% over the past 15 months, going from 74.8 million to 49.5 million in August. comScore Search Planner shows that search clicks to Map/Navigation sites show an even steeper decline, down 41% to just 55.2 million in August.

We're likely to continue to see a flattening of local search volumes on the PC and a continuing shift to mobile devices (mobile web and apps). Nobody really knows how much local search query volume is flowing through mobile apps. However a January 2012 survey found that half of smartphone owners conducted local search in apps, with Google Maps being the leading app.

Once marketers more fully embrace mobile and get more sophisticated about ROI we should see the price of mobile advertising and mobile CPCs increase. Google of course will be one of the chief beneficiaries of such a development.