According to a new study released by research and consultation firm Frank N. Magid Associates, 51 percent of mobile phone users access content using their mobile phone on a weekly basis. What's more, mobile content users spend about the same amount of time with content (39 minutes), as the average user does texting (38 minutes) or talking on their mobile phone (44 minutes). Consumers are no longer just using their phones for communication. Instead, these adopters of the mobile lifestyle are using their phones to keep in touch with and manage the entertainment, news, and social information critical to their lives.
Looking deeper, entertainment content is just as popular as utilitarian content. However, entertainment content, such as mobile games, music, and social networking activities, is accessed for longer periods of time overall than utilitarian content (such as news, weather and sports scores). Behaviors fall out expectedly along demographic lines -- 80 percent of mobile social networking is among 12-34 year olds, while news consumption is dominated (79%) by 18-54 year olds.
"Young people are driving a lot of the mobile content usage," according to Vicki Cohen, Executive Vice President. "Anything entertainment oriented is a draw for the younger demo -- games, music, movie times, entertainment news -- it all exhibits a big opportunity for companies targeting younger demographic groups."
The tween and teen markets are significant revenue opportunities. Twelve to seventeen year-olds are particularly interested in consuming mobile content; seventy-two percent do so weekly. Of these, fifty-two percent buy content regularly, while only 39 percent of all content users do the same.
Non-users of content say that they are most significantly put off by the cost of accessing mobile content; however, content relevancy is just as important. Fifty-two percent of non-users (versus 22% of users) state that they do not feel a need to access mobile content when they are away from more traditional content outlets.
"Lack of familiarity with mobile content and no clear perception of value are the primary barriers for non-users, who are more likely to be older Americans. The perception that it has to do with the handset isn't entirely true," says Jill Rosengard Hill, Senior Vice President. "41 percent of those who don't have a smart phone are accessing mobile news, music, and playing mobile games."
When it comes to income, however, there is a distinction between those who are more or less likely to access mobile content. Consumers living in households earning more than $100,000 per year are more likely than less affluent users to use mobile content. These users are about three times as likely to access business-related information and about twice as likely to access news and/or online shopping on their phones.
The online survey was fielded in January 2009 and includes a representative national sample of 4,000 U.S. wireless customers between the ages of 12 and 64. The sample is balanced by age, gender, ethnic background, and geography. The report which is available for purchase highlights perspectives from iPhone, BlackBerry, and Windows Mobile users; Mobile Web users; Mobile video users; Mobile gamers and all advertising demographics.