Smartphones Driving Non-Voice Communications

    November 18, 2009

The increase in mobile device usage for non-voice communications, such as text messages, email and Internet access is being driven primarily by the popularity of smartphones, according to a new study by BIA/Kelsey.

BIA/Kelsey’s Mobile Market View study, found 18.5 percent of consumers searched the Internet for products or services in their local areas, up from 15.6 percent in 2008, and 16.7 percent visited a social network such as MySpace or Facebook, up from 9.6 percent in 2008.

"This third wave of our Mobile Market View study confirms several key trends taking shape in the rapidly evolving mobile advertising space," said Steve Marshall, director of research and consulting, BIA/Kelsey.

"Not the least among these trends is that mobile is quickly developing into a viable platform for local commercial activity."

Among the heaviest mobile users, 48.2 percent sent or received more than 10 text messages per week and 21 percent accessed the Internet more than 10 times per week.

Searches for local products or services now surpasses out-of-market searches by a wide margin. Among consumers using mobile devices:

  •     18.5 percent searched the Internet for local products or services
  •     15.9 percent obtained information about movies or other entertainment
  •     13.3 percent obtained information about restaurants or bars
  •     11.1 percent searched the Internet for products or services outside their local area
  •     4 percent purchased a physical item that needed to be shipped (e.g., a book)
  •     3 percent used a coupon from their mobile phone

The study also found usage of mobile devices for viewing or sending video has increased with 7.9 percent watching or purchasing a TV program, 11.7 percent a music video and 17.7 percent sending or receiving videos.


"Between waves one and three of Mobile Market View, consumers have basically doubled their use of the mobile platform for non-voice communications," said Rick Ducey, chief strategy officer, BIA/Kelsey.

"This represents a fundamental and rapid shift in media use, which needs to be considered in determining the appropriate mix and spending levels among local platforms. Media companies that do not currently offer a differentiated mobile advertising option had better get there quickly."

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