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Mobile Future in Focus: Key Trends Shaping the Mobile and Tablet Landscape in 2012

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comScore held a webinar today called “Mobile Future in Focus: Key Trends Shaping the Mobile and Tablet Landscape in 2012.” Presented by comScore SVP (Mobile) Mark Donovan, the webinar examined the rapidly growing smartphone and tablet markets in recent years. Here are 7 interesting topics covered:

1. Mobile Media Usage accelerates across markets:
Mobile Media Engagement can be defined as mobile browsing and accessing & downloading apps. At the end of 2011, Japan led with 76.2% of mobile users using mobile media. The UK placed second with 56.6% of its mobile population using mobile media, followed closely behind by the U.S. with 55.2% mobile media usage penetration.

2. Mobile fuels social media:
In the U.S., 64.2 million people access social networking sites/blogs via smartphones every month; 38.2 million people access social networking sites/blogs via smartphones every day.

So what are mobile users doing on social media sites? The most popular activity is reading posts by friends, followed by posting status updates. The third most popular activity is following posted links to websites; the fourth is reading posts from organizations, brands, or events.

3. Mobile fuels commerce:
Mobile phones are changing the traditional brick-and-mortar shopping experience. The most popular activity on mobile phones during in-store shopping for consumers is taking pictures of the product, followed by texting/calling friends and family. The top 2 activities are social. Following closely behind, consumers are using their mobile phones to scan a product barcode to compare prices during in-store shopping.

4. The misunderstood QR Code:
There’s a misconception that QR Codes are dead; however, according to comScore, this isn’t the case. QR Codes are being used, just not in the way most people think.

Of QR codes scanned, 49% originate from printed magazines/newspapers, 42% come from product packaging, and 25% come from posters/flyers/kiosks. Where QR Codes are scanned is even more interesting- 57% are scanned at home, 50% are scanned at retail stores, and 11% are scanned outside or on public transit.

5. Purchase Decisions: Smartphones versus Feature Phones:
Consumers place importance on different factors when purchasing smartphones versus feature phones. When purchasing smartphones, consumers consider 1) Network quality, 2) The phone’s OS; 3) App selection; and 4) Overall monthly cost. However, when consumers purchase feature phones, their main concern is cost.

6. The rapidly growing tablet market:
The tablet market is growing quickly, at a much faster rate than smartphones. It took only 2 years for tablets to reach the 40 million units sold mark; on the other hand, it took smartphones 7 years to reach the 40 million units sold mark. According to Donavan, the rise of tablets is the result of the rise of excellent touch screen devices, most notably smartphones by Apple. To sum it up, smartphones created the opportunity for tablets to grow in popularity.

7. Different “Biorhythms” for different devices:
Consumers in the US use different devices during the day to check news. In the morning when people wake up, tablets and smartphones are used more often than computers; however, during the work day, computers are the main source of traffic to news sites, followed by smartphones; and at night, tablet usage increases dramatically.

Consumers leave their tablets home when going to work, but pick them up again after their work day has ended. This data is useful for marketers who want to reach their audience through different devices.

Wrapping Up
It’s important for brands and businesses to stay up-to-date on the latest mobile trends and changes, so they can effectively tailor their mobile marketing strategies, or if they do not have one yet, to begin forming their mobile strategies before it is too late.