The Mobile Landscape
In preparation for the launch of Planet Argon’s Mobile Web Development Services page, I set out to find some current mobile phone and mobile web statistics. One blog led to another, which led to a few different articles, which eventually led to comScore’s 2012 Mobile Future in Focus report. comScore, a self-described “global leader in measuring the digital world,” released the report in order to examine “insights into the mobile and connected device landscape in 2011 and what they mean for 2012.” Here are a few such insights:
Nearly 42 percent of all U.S. mobile subscribers now use smartphones, along with 44 percent of mobile users across the EU5 (comprised of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK)."
According to the CTIA, there are 322.8M mobile phones in use in the U.S. That’s a massive amount of cellphones; a rapidly-growing proportion of which are smartphones.
Tablets quickly rose in popularity in 2011, taking less than two years to reach nearly 40 million tablets in use among the U.S. mobile population, significantly outpacing smartphones which took 7 years to reach similar levels of adoption."
These trends are racing along. Staying still, especially in this field and particularly in regards to mobile technology, is quite the same as moving backwards.
Mobile media usage [defined as browsing the mobile web, accessing applications, or downloading content] in the U.S. and UK surpassed 50% in 2011," which is “an increase of 11.6 points [since 2010] in the US.”
This means that half of the adults who own cellphones (which is 83% of all U.S. adults, according to a Pew Internet and American Life Project report) use their phones to go online. And that astounding number is 11.6% more than it was last year. What, pray tell, might it be next year?
The smartphone audience in the EU5 achieved a significant 44-percent increase to 104 million subscribers, representing 44.0 percent of all mobile users. The U.S. saw an even stronger increase of 55 percent to 98 million smartphone subscribers, representing nearly 42 percent of all U.S. mobile users."
As of last year, for the first time, there were more smartphones sold than any other type of mobile phone in the U.S. Smartphones will soon be as ubiquitous as, and indeed synonymous with, cellphones. And accessing the mobile web will just mean accessing the web. It is up to us as web developers and designers to intelligently and thoughtfully optimize that experience.
By the end of the year, nearly 60 percent of all recently acquired mobile devices in the U.S. were smartphones, illustrating how pervasive these devices have become among the mobile audience. In comparison, less than 20 percent of new devices acquired were smartphones at the end of Q1 2009."
Again, the magic of these numbers is not in what they communicate about today, which is of course significant, but in what they communicate about tomorrow.
By December, mobile and connected devices were driving approximately 8 percent of observed Internet traffic in the United States. In an analysis of 10 selected worldwide markets, Singapore led in driving the highest share of non-computer Internet traffic at more than 11 percent at the end of the year. The UK followed, with nearly 10 percent of traffic coming from mobile phones, tablets and other connected devices."
Perhaps 8 percent doesn’t sound like much now, but there is no doubt that next year will see a larger number, and the year after a significantly larger percentage than the year before.
As the comScore report aptly declares, “The surging global adoption of smartphones and tablets is changing how, when and where consumers connect to digital content, creating the most dramatic shift in digital media consumption since the advent of the personal computer.” Yep. I agree. And as we are confronted with this dramatic shift, we have a choice to make: either remain fixed to the old, the comfortable, the status quo, or let go and embrace the new, the different, the challenging. And it is plain to see the trajectory we are on- now, it is time to respond.