Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Modest U.S. Groundswell of Mobile Internet

According to ComScore, the number of people using a mobile device to access news and information on the Internet has reached a groundswell. Among the U.S. user base of 63.2 million people who accessed news and information on their mobile devices in January 2009, 22.4 million (35 percent) did so daily -- more than double the size of the market last year.

Does this mean that the U.S. market has caught up to the advanced mobile market leaders in Asia-Pacific and Europe? Hardly. It's all relative progress. But a good sign, regardless.

"Over the course of the past year, we have seen use of mobile Internet evolve from an occasional activity to being a daily part of people's lives," observed Mark Donovan, senior vice president, mobile, comScore.

This underscores the growing importance of the mobile medium as consumers become more reliant on their mobile devices to access time-sensitive and utilitarian information.

"Social networking and blogging have emerged as very popular daily uses of the mobile Web and these activities are growing at a torrid pace," observed Donovan. "We also note that much of the growth in news and information usage is driven by the increased popularity of downloaded applications, such as those offered for the iPhone, and by text-based searches."

While smartphones and high-end feature phones, like the Samsung Instinct and LG Dare comprise the Top 10 devices used for news and information access, 70 percent of those accessing mobile Internet content are using feature phones.

In January, 22.3 million people accessed news and information via a downloaded application. Maps are the most popular downloaded application with 8.2 million users, while search was the overwhelmingly favored use for SMS-based news and information access, with 14.1 million users.

However, 32.4 million people used SMS, without using any mobile Internet, to access news and information in January.

Young males are the most avid users of mobile news and information, with half of 18 to 34-year-old males engaging in the activity. The mobile Internet is also popular among females in the 18 to 24-year-old demographic, with 40 percent accessing it at least once in January.