The speed of technology is relentless. The iPhone launched in June 2007 and now, only six years later, Nielsen is devoting an entire study to measuring mobile content consumption. On the other hand, it would be hard to believe if they weren’t studying this behavior, because smartphones and tablets and the mobile bandwidth that drives them has become almost as important to some consumers as the air they breathe.
In its June 2013 report, A Look Across Screens, Nielsen’s researchers write, “Both smartphones and tablets offer mobility of content; video content as well as at-our-fingertips access to news, information, sports scores, social networking and shopping…Smartphones and tablets have revolutionized our ability to be connected to each other and to our favorite shows at all times.”
For those in the entertainment business, whether that be radio, records, managers, artists or promoters, it is becoming increasingly vital to access these new channels, and more importantly, that you gain an understanding of how customers are using them.
The unweighted data in this study was sourced from a panel of 5,000 smartphone and 1300 tablet users during March 2013.
Personal And Portable
According to the study, smartphone users split their time 87% and 13% between using apps and surfing the mobile web, respectively. Women are the heaviest users averaging 28 hrs. 7 min (men: 25 hrs. 53 min.) during the month with apps and 4 hrs. 23 min. (men: 4 hrs. 1 min.) on the mobile web.
Not unexpectedly, tablet users spend a larger share of time on the mobile web and less with apps, perhaps due to the tablet’s larger screen size. Overall, tablet tappers spent 76% of their time with apps and 24% with mobile web. Women are heavier users than their male counterparts on this screen as well. For example, with respect to monthly mobile web use, men spent 3 hrs. 23 min. while women engaged for 5 hrs 5 min.
How/When Do We Use Our Mobile Devices?
As the Monthly Time Spent Per Person graph shows, social networking easily leads sports and streaming video for online activities with both tablets and smartphones. In fact on the smaller screen (smartphone) users averaged 9 hrs. 6 min engaging with social networking. Streaming video was second, registering 1 hr. 15 min.
With respect to ipad apps, time spent during the day starts to index higher than 100 around 2 p.m. and then climbs steadily until about 9 p.m. when it starts to recede, but stays above 100 through 11 p.m. These hours overlay nicely with the work day, show consumers who are busy earning a living during the day, but when they return home pick up their tablets and start consuming content, of which a large share will involve connecting with friends and acquaintances via social media.
The Nielsen study also looks at Average Time Spent Per Person Per Day with certain activities such as “Live TV,” “DVR Playback,” “Video Games” and “DVD Playback.” Quite surprisingly, daily time with Live TV has remained fairly constant, going from 4:47 Q1 2009 to 4:39 Q1 2013. Newer technologies that have grown over the past few years show larger differences such as DVR Playback which has grown more than 50%— :16 Q1 2009 to :26 Q1 2013.
Nielsen also reports that smartphone penetration has reached an average of 61%. Looking at the adoption rates by ethnicity (White, African American, Hispanic, Asian) shows that Asians have the highest smartphone percentage—75%. Whites are the lowest penetrated group with usage at 57%.
As Dylan said, “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” And with respect to consuming mobile data across smartphones and tablets it’s no secret that they are becoming a fixture in our lives and absorbing an ever larger slice of our attention.
This study confirms that women and men are both actively participating in this mobile content consumption behavior. App use still greatly outweighs mobile web time on both devices, but one might expect that as the mobile web surfing experience continues to improve, its use will climb. Social media is the leading mobile online activity.
Technology and access to information and entertainment content has grown dramatically since that fateful iPhone launch on June 29, 2007. There’s no going back, the genie is way out of the bottle and the multiple screen lifestyle clearly not going away.