Getting to Know the Mobile Population
Mobile users are inseparable from their devices. Whether they have a smartphone or a traditional feature phone, it goes with them at all times. And as these devices become more capable, they are evolving into extensions of users’ desktops and home communications and entertainment systems.
Penetration will near 100% by 2013, reflected in a modest 2.7% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in the number of subscribers between 2008 and 2013.
“With mobile usage now pervasive, eMarketer believes that mobile will develop into a ubiquitous platform for messaging, social networking, entertainment and Web access,” said Noah Elkin, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report, “Mobile Users and Usage: It’s Personal.”
The mobile subscriber population is hardly uniform—in either its demographic composition or usage habits. For example, women enjoy a slight lead over men in the overall composition of the mobile subscriber population. According to comScore data, the split is 53% women, 47% men. However, men are better represented in the key 18 to 44 age range. Variations in usage by age, income, ethnicity and device type also exist, with each subsegment representing its share of opportunities as well as a unique set of potential challenges.
Usage continues to center around various forms of communication, and text messaging has superseded voice calling as the pre-eminent means of communication on mobile devices. Figures from Nielsen show that in Q1 2009, the average US mobile subscriber sent or received 486 text messages per month but made just 182 calls.
As might be expected, heavy texting is not uniform across all mobile users. Nielsen data shows that users ages 13 to 24 text disproportionately more than those in other age groups. In fact, in Q1 2009, 13-to-17-year-olds sent and received more than three times as many texts on a monthly basis as the next-most-avid group of texters, those ages 18 to 24, and over 50 times as many as the least active texters, those ages 55 to 64. That said, it is noteworthy that no age group is immune to the draw of text messaging.
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