Nielsen have just released their Mobile Consumer Report. It's got some interesting findings, so we thought we'd give you a summary.
The current landscape
Mobile phone ownership in both developed and high-growth countries has reached a critical mass, with no growth from the first half of 2012. The high rates of ownership are shown in the below graph:
Nevertheless, the kinds of phone we own are changing. Smartphone ownership is highest in South Korea, China, Australia and the UK, whilst those in Turkey and Brazil were most likely to own a multimedia phone. Feature phones are most popular in India, owned by 80% of all those with a device.
Some countries have a higher prevalence of multiple-device ownership, too, as highlighted by the coloured segments in these pie charts:
The report also contains interesting information on where and why we purchase our devices. 49% of Russian mobile users purchased their device at a major electronics or media store, whilst 39% of those in the UK purchased online. Factors vary by location: value for money is most important in the US, UK, Italy and China, as opposed to Russians who care about 'stylish design' or Chinese consumers, who want a large choice of apps.
Behaviours: shopping, social & video
Worldwide, text messaging is by far the most popular use of a mobile device. E-mail, instant messaging, social networking and the general use of apps are big too; the latter two showing high penetration in almost all markets other than India. Within the use of applications, social networking is strongest in the US, where 85% of smartphone owners are regular users, followed by 67% in Brazil and 60% in China. 58% of UK smartphone owners regularly make use of social apps.
Smartphones have the biggest impact on shopping for US users, who are most likely to use their devices for in-store price comparison, online coupons and purchasing products.
Another big use of smartphones is in watching mobile video, the frequency of which is shown below. This is most prevalent in emerging markets, especially China, and less so in the developed world, with the exception of the US.
In most countries, video is most often accessed via mobile web, but South Korean and UK users prefer to use a mobile app. In the US, both mobile web and applications are hugely popular: 72% of smartphone owners watch mobile video through these. Downloading clips is the least popular method in most countries, other than in India, where it outranks applications and Russia, where the two are level.
As smartphone usage grows, it is unsurprising that mobile advertising increases with it. In every country other than India, more than 50% of smartphone users who receive mobile ads did so at least once a day.
The effectiveness of these ads varies by country, too. In developed countries, people are less likely to click on adverts, whilst fast-developing countries see greater success. Interestingly, whilst it was shown above that Indian smartphone owners are least likely to receive ads, they are more likely to submit personal details once an ad is seen.
So, there's a whole host of information about the differing nature of mobile ownership around the world. We're seeing smartphones take over the developed world, with developing economies following not too far behind. All across the world, we're using our phones for more and more exciting activities: apps, social networking, m-commerce. When it comes to mobile advertising, we've seen an increase in volume, which may well be responsible for a dip in effectiveness.
There's plenty more in the report, too. For even more information, as well as details of the research methodology in different countries, make sure to have a look at the whole thing.