Mobile users are content consumers. In fact, consumption in many categories nearly doubled between 2010 and 2011 including: health information, reference and entertainment. This growth can be attributed to not only overall growth in mobile users, but also increased data speeds, ubiquitous connectivity, mobile formatted content and the proliferation of social integration.
Mobile users are gamers and the demographic is not just young males. In fact, women over 30 are the most avid players of mobile games. A recent report shows that 64% of users who downloaded an app in the past 30 days downloaded a game. Games are the most popular app category particularly amongst paid apps with 93% of app downloaders willing to pay for a game.
Listening to music on mobile devices is huge. Currently, 70% of Pandora’s traffic is from mobile devices. Along with Spotify, iHeartRadio, Last.fm, Rhapsody and many others, music apps offer the mobile consumer free, ad-supported or paid access to a nearly infinite library of music. Integration of mobile devices in home theater electronics and vehicle stereos, coupled with pervasive internet connections has turned the mobile device into the consumer’s music headquarters.
Certainly mobile devices are used for socializing. Facebook (33%) and Twitter (55%) are experiencing a large increase in percentage of traffic from mobile devices and the numbers are expected to continue growing. Many social networking platforms either originated as an app or exist only as an app. Location-based apps like Foursquare prominently feature social sharing features. Even photo-sharing apps such as Instagram have millions of users.
A huge differentiator in the mobile versus desktop consumer market is the concept of apps. Desktop users purchase a limited number of software titles and are often very deliberate with these often expensive purchases.
Meanwhile, the now $100 billion mobile app market is growing at nearly 100% per year. On average, mobile consumers have 33 apps on their phones. The relatively low cost of apps and the ease of purchase, download and installation has turned buying “software” into a cheap and trivial task.
The miniscule cost and easy adoption of apps has resulted in a volatile market. New or popular apps can see astronomical growth. Consider these stats:
- AOL took 9 years to reach one million users
- Facebook took 9 months
- Mobile app Draw Something took only 9 days!
Of course, with finite time to spend on their devices, mobile consumers can be quick to abandon apps. Popularity may be fleeting. As Draw Something rapidly gains users, the popular Words With Friends app has seen a steady decline in usage.
Shopping and spending using mobile devices is becoming mainstream. Nearly 38% of mobile consumers have used a smartphone to make a purchase. This was reflected on Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year, as 14% of web traffic was from mobile devices that day in 2011.
Mobile payments are also growing via services like PayPal and Square. Paid media content such as downloaded music, books, movies, magazines and TV shows has become big business, particularly amongst tablet users.
The mobile consumer behaves inherently different than a desktop user. Mobile devices make information, games, music, socializing, downloading and shopping immediately available. This changing behavior will only continue to grow. Internet users will double in the next 3 years and most will be using a mobile device.
Consumers are different in the Mobile Future.
State of Media: Consumer Usage Report
Play Before Work: Games Most Popular Mobile App Category in US
Mobile made up 14pc of Black Friday Web traffic
Mobile Shopping Goes Mainstream
The Future of Mobile