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Smartphones, tablets driving up digital traffic in the US

Posted on 11 Oct 2011 at 19:15 pm

comScore has released a report, "Digital Omnivores: How Tablets, Smartphones and Connected Devices are Changing U.S. Digital Media Consumption Habits", that shows these devices are changing US digital media consumption habits.

The report analyses how cross-platform consumption has created a vastly different landscape as consumers utilise a growing number of devices to consume digital content. It also looks at the impact these shifting consumption habits have on online visitation and engagement across the Internet. (Download a copy here).

"The popularisation of smartphones and the introduction of tablets and other web-enabled devices – collectively termed 'connected devices' – have contributed to an explosion in digital media consumption. As these devices gain adoption we have also seen the rise of the 'digital omnivores' – consumers who access content through several touchpoints during the course of their daily digital lives,” said Mark Donovan, comScore senior vice president of mobile.

Report’s key findings:

  • Mobile phones drive digital traffic around the world, while tablets are gaining steam: The share of non-computer traffic for the U.S. stood at 6.8% in August 2011, with approximately two-thirds of that traffic coming from mobile phones, and tablets accounting for much of the remainder.
  • Increased WiFi availability and mobile broadband adoption in the U.S. are helping drive connectivity: In August more than one third (37.2%) of U.S. digital traffic coming from mobile phones occurred via a WiFi connection. This percentage grew nearly three points in just the past three months. On the other hand, tablets, which traditionally required a WiFi connection to access the Internet, are increasingly driving traffic using mobile broadband access. In the same month nearly 10% of traffic from tablets occurred via a mobile network connection.
  • Today half of the total U.S. mobile population uses mobile media: The mobile media user population (those who browse the mobile web, access applications, or download content) grew 19% in the past year to more than 116 million people at the end of August 2011.
  • iPads dominate among tablets in driving digital traffic. In August iPads delivered 97.2%of all tablet traffic in the U.S. iPads have also begun to account for a higher share of Internet traffic than iPhones (46.8% vs. 42.6% of all iOS device traffic).
  • In the U.S. tablet users display the characteristics of early technology adopters: young males in upper income brackets:In August 54.7% of all tablet owners were male and nearly 30% were aged 25-34. Nearly half (45.9%) of tablet owners belonged to households earning US$100K and more.
  • Nearly half of tablet owners made or completed a purchase on their tablet: Tablet owners exhibited significant use of their devices throughout the entire online shopping process – from doing the initial planning, conducting product and store research, making price comparisons, to finally transacting. In the past month, more than half of tablet owners looked up product or price information for a specific store (56 percent) and read customer ratings and reviews while on a tablet (54%)
  • Nearly three out of five tablet owners consume news on their tablets: 58% of tablet owners consumed world, national or local news on their devices, with one in four consuming this content on a near-daily basis on their tablets.
  • Tablets facilitate real-time social networking:  Nearly three in five tablet owners updated their social networking status or commented on others’ status on their device during September, while slightly less than half shared their location using a location-sharing site during.
  • The incremental reach through mobile and connected devices should not be underestimated:In the case of a publisher, such as Pandora, the incremental reach of additional channels like connected devices is significant. In August 2011 the additional mobile and connected device audience for Pandora accounted for more than half of their total cross-platform audience.

iOS is leading connected device platform by device share and traffic share

Although the Android platform accounts for the highest share of the smartphone market (43.7% in August) its total audience among mobile and connected devices in current use is eclipsed by Apple iOS. The iOS platform had the highest share of connected devices and smartphones in use at 43.1%, fuelled by the iPad’s dominance in the tablet market while Android accounted for 34.1%of the total mobile and connected device universe.

The iOS platform also accounts for the largest share of Internet traffic, measured in terms of browser-based page views, in the U.S. at present. When measuring market share of Internet traffic by platform, iOS accounted for more than half (58.5%) of the share of total non-computer traffic in the U.S. Android OS ranked second, with 31.9%of overall non-computer traffic in August. With iOS having a significantly higher share of traffic (58.5%)compared to its share of devices (43.1%)it suggests that iOS users are heavier-than-average consumers of Internet content.

Tags: comScore , iOS , Android , digital media consumption , mobile media , connected devices , smartphone , tablet , iPad , iPhone , mobile population , Mark Donovan