With mobile penetration in the US estimated by eMarketer at nearly 80% this year, and the increasing sophistication of handsets, there is a mature mobile market with a critical mass of users increasingly receptive to marketing and content. As the space becomes more important for marketers’ efforts, they must keep pace with the changing scene.

“As feature phones give way to smartphones and tablet devices, mobility is taking on new dimensions,” said Noah Elkin, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report “Seven Key Trends in Mobile Usage.” “The ability to consume, create and share more content than ever before translates into increased engagement on mobile devices. It also means enhanced opportunities for marketers to reach out to potential customers via mobile.”

One of the biggest keys to these new marketing opportunities is the rise of smartphones. The percentage of US consumers thinking about buying a smartphone has doubled since the beginning of 2008, according to ChangeWave Research, and Nielsen expects smartphones to be in the hands of half of US mobile users by the end of Q3 2011.


Smartphone Buying Plans*, 2008-2010 (% of US consumers)

As handsets change, so do mobile consumption and usage patterns. Voice is becoming less relevant, and carriers and their marketing and content partners have transitioned to a focus on data.

Social networks are fast becoming the primary way mobile users exchange information. According to comScore, use of social networking applications increased by 240% between April 2009 and April 2010.


Fastest-Growing US Mobile Application Categories, April 2009 & April 2010 (thousands of unique users and % change)

With social network users indexing higher for various forms of mobile content usage, according to Edison Research and Arbitron, the rise in mobile social media also suggests further increases in content consumption—and the need to pay for that content either through user fees or advertising.

The full report, “Seven Key Trends in Mobile Usage,” also includes information on these important developments:

  • The smartphone race is increasingly competitive.
  • The increased ownership of smart devices is driving growth in mobile web penetration.
  • The mobile-social nexus is all about location, location, location.
  • Content revenues will rise—and ad revenues will climb even faster.
  • The iPad and other devices are changing the face of mobility.

The full report is available to Total Access clients only. Total Access clients, log in and view the report now.