Tacking something that moves as quickly as the mobile industry often seems like a futile exercise. It’s hard enough to keep track of where you’ve left your own, personal phone, never mind the giant market shifts that are worth millions (and even billions) of dollars to the companies driving them. That’s why we’re grateful to research groups like comScore for providing deep insights into our industry, summarizing the trends and changes that would be so difficult to otherwise observe.
comScore has just recently published their 2012 Mobile Future in Focus report, analyzing key insights from 2011 and what they mean for this year. Many of you won’t have the time to go through that report in detail — or will be interested in implications for the pharma/health industry that are missing from the publication — so we hereby present our Summary of the Summary. We hope you enjoy and join us for a discussion in the comments section below.
- Although this is an international report (United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, and Canada), we’ve chosen to focus on the US data presented and to especially highlight where it differs from worldwide trends.
- Unless otherwise noted, all stats below are cited from the comScore report.
- All stats are to the end of 2011 unless otherwise noted.
- The stats below relate to the consumer audience and not to HCP usage of mobile, which tends to skew higher on the iOS early adopter side (and even heavier for tablet use).
- 42% of all U.S. mobile subscribers now use smartphones, along with 44% of mobile users across the EU5 (comprised of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK).
- Nearly 60% of recently acquired U.S. mobile devices are smartphones (compared to less than 20% at end of Q1 2009).
- There are more than 400 smartphone devices available in the U.S. market.
- Apple dominated the list of top acquired devices in the U.S. market, occupying the top three spots:
- The top three factors in smartphone purchase decisions (in order from most to least): network quality, operating system, selection of apps.
- In the U.S., smartphones are most popular in the 25 – 34 and 35 – 44 demographics, and slightly more popular with men than with women.
- Android devices (from a variety of manufacturers) now command the largest market share at 47%. Apple is second at 30% .The majority of those gains has come at the expense of RIM, whose share has dropped to 16%.
- RIM owners are increasingly replacing their BlackBerry devices with Android phones. 31% of RIM owners who replaced their device in 2011 made that decision, with only 43% staying true to RIM.
Usage and Behavior
- More than half of U.S. smartphone owners used their phones to perform retail research while within a physical store.
- Nearly 1 in 5 smartphone users scanned a product barcode and nearly 1 in 8 had performed a price comparison.
- 64.2 million U.S. smartphone users accessed social networking sites or blogs on their mobile devices at least once in December 2011 with more than half of these mobile social networking users accessing social media almost every day.
- More than 50% of U.S. mobile users engaged with mobile media (browsing the mobile web, accessing applications or downloading content).
- Mobile devices (including smartphones and tablets) drove over 8% of all Internet traffic in the US at end of December 2011:
- Consumption of mobile media is fairly evenly split between browser and app usage:
- The top app lists vary considerably between the iOS and Android markets, with more Google apps appearing on the Android side:
- Sending text messages still remains the most popular activity on mobile devices, though taking photos is quickly becoming a top contender as the quality of in-phone cameras increases.
- Every category of content saw a significant gain in mobile access in 2011, with the highest gains occurring in health information, which now reaches 185m U.S. mobile users:
- Accessing social media and blogs from smartphones remains a very popular activity, with 64.2m U.S. mobile users accessing at least once per month and 38.2m accessing almost every day.
- Although iOS has a smaller overall marketshare, iOS users accounted for more total network access (60.1% of all ‘connected device’ traffic) than Android users (32.4%).
- There are nearly 40 million tablets in use among the U.S. mobile population, with nearly 15% of U.S. mobile users also owning tablets (1 in 6).
- Apple continues to own the majority of the U.S. tablet market, ending the year
- iPads drove 90.4% of all internet traffic from tablet devices:
- Tablets are resulting in a significant shift in daily traffic consumption, accounting for a spike in evening traffic within most categories (the Newspaper category is illustrated below):
Conclusions for Pharma/Health Marketers
- Now is the right time to be building mobile optimized versions of all of your content. Access from mobile devices will only increase during 2012, and Google has started to give increased prominence to mobile-optimized sites in their Search Engine Results Pages accessed from mobile devices (i.e. they are making sure that mobile users who perform searches reach mobile sites).
- SMS and text marketing campaigns are still viable, especially since texting remains the most popular activity. That said, they are increasingly becoming less relevant as mobile users find other ways to consume content and talk to their friends.
- If you are considering building mobile apps, you should determine if an iOS or Android-focused approach will best suit your demographic. Although Android represents a higher market share overall, Android users install and use fewer apps than their iOS counterparts. Our top recommendation is still to focus on mobile-optimized web content primarily, and to consider native app development as a more niche-appropriate solution depending on your disease state and competitive set.
- Consider tablet-based access to your websites and content as an important factor. Most tablet users will want to see the desktop version of your site rather than the mobile version stretched to fill their screen, but keep in mind that limitations like a lack of Flash support will be a factor. Consider designing your sites to support touchscreen/gesture based interfaces, particularly for swipes between carousel slides and not relying on mouseovers.