Chris Quick, Client Services Manager, Mobile Media
We have seen that the mobile industry is on a fast-track, with massive growth in mobile marketing, advertising and paid-content for users. But what is really leading this growth is the increase in quality devices and fast, affordable data. While smartphone ownership was once just a business tool, more consumers than ever are using smartphones in their everyday lives. In the past year alone, the total number of smartphone subscribers increased 72% quarter-over-quarter, growing from 15 million subscribers in Q2 2008 to 26 million in Q2 2009. While the penetration level of smartphone users is still fairly low – nearly 17% in Q2 2009 – they make up half of the mobile Web audience.
Despite America's reputation as a nation of big talkers — the U.S. is not setting the pace in smartphone adoption — ranking third when ranked by penetration. Italy has the largest percentage of smartphone owners at 28%, while Spain is not far behind with 23%. France has the most room to grow, with an 11% penetration level.
With the continued expansion of smartphone ownership in the U.S. and the availability of more affordable devices, the market is opening up to a wider range of consumers. However, we continue to see similar demographic profiles for smartphone owners as we did a year ago. While smartphone usage is shifting from purely business use to both personal and business use, owners are still more than two times as likely to own a smartphone for business usage only. Smartphone owners continue to be predominantly male, are 65% more likely than the average mobile subscriber to be between the ages of 25 and 34, and nearly two times as likely to make more than $100,000 a year.
So while more people are buying smartphones and penetration levels are increasing, the demographics are not significantly changing yet. There is a lot of untapped potential available to marketers to reach a whole new generation of smartphone users. Is your mobile marketing strategy as smart as your phone?