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Mobile Engagement Accelerates Media Fragmentation


As momentum in the mobile phone market swings clearly in favor of smartphones, more people are adopting mobile apps, while device performance increased and yet prices continue to drop.

Meanwhile, the majority of U.S. mobile service subscribers still have a feature phone. But eMarketer predicts smartphone ownership will rise from 31 percent this year to 43 percent by 2015. Nearly 110 million Americans will have a smartphone by the end of 2015.

"Smartphone owners already command the majority of marketer attention," said Noah Elkin, eMarketer principal analyst.

Why? Smartphone users do more than their counterparts with feature phones: more messaging, gaming, listening to music, watching videos, social networking, shopping, using apps and browsing the web.

At the end of 2010, eMarketer estimates 30 percent of U.S. smartphone users had a BlackBerry and 28 percent had an iPhone, the top two operating systems.

But Google Android's share of the market is rising quickly. Nielsen tracking surveys found Android pulling ahead among recent smartphone purchasers, and eMarketer predicts that by 2012 Android will be the number one mobile OS in America.

The changing device landscape is evolving usage patterns. eMarketer estimates that time spent with mobile devices is rising faster than for any other medium, up 28.2 percent in 2010. Smartphone owners, more active with every type of mobile content than feature phone owners, are likely on the leading edge of this trend.

"Marketers need to pay attention to these trends as they project budgets and develop marketing strategies," said Elkin.

Mobile devices will claim more and more attention and engagement during the day -- while traditional media such as TV, print and radio will continue to lose ground to online digital media. This transition will thereby accelerate media fragmentation.

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