Mobile Market Wrap-Up, August 16

Yes, I’m a day late this week, but you know how it goes. It’s been one of those weeks – already!

Following up on last week’s statistics, two more interesting reports were released last week. The first I’d like to highlight is from Chetan Sharma, a consultant in the mobile industry. He reports on mobile statistics quarterly, and his latest report indicated that mobile phone penetration is the US is nearing 100%. The number needs to be taken with a grain of salt as a lot of people these days are carrying two phones (me included), so the real number is likely lower – probably around 75-80%. Still yet, even at 80%, it’s clear that the mobile market in the US is nearing saturation and that brands and companies who do not have a mobile marketing strategy are missing out on a great opportunity to connect with consumers.

The other interesting report was released by the Gartner Group. The first statistic to highlight from the report is that mobile device sales grew 13.8% last quarter, so the market is definitely healthy and growing. A more telling statistic was that Android surpassed the iPhone in units sold worldwide last quarter, and outsold RIM in the US. As I pointed out in last week’s wrap-up, Android just keeps on rolling. Units sold is a clear trend of future overall marketshare, so I would expect to see Android make more gains in overall handset marketshare in the coming quarters.

Speaking of Android, two new Android handsets of note were released last week – the Motorola Droid 2 on Verizon and the Dell Streak on AT&T. The Droid 2 is a refresh of the original Droid while the Streak is an interesting “hybrid” device. I say “hybrid” because it sports a 5″ screen which makes it much larger than what people consider a phone but smaller than the new tablet form factor established by the iPad. It seems like an awkward tweener size, so I’m expecting it to be a device people will use a companion to a simple flip phone rather than their primary device. Either way, the diversity of Android devices in terms of screen sizes, features and form factors is exactly why Android is dominating the market. As opposed to the one size fits all Apple approach and the flavor of the month QWERTY keyboard BlackBerry approach, Android devices are available in all sorts of shapes and sizes at all types of price ranges. It’s easy to find an Android device that has the features you want to fit your budget.

Finally for this week is a fun survey that was released by dating site OK Cupid. The survey talks about how to make yourself look more attractive in digital photos (seems like it would be important for online dating). So what does this have to do with mobile? Well, about halfway down the page is a claim that iPhone users have more sex than Android and BlackBerry owners. So here’s the question, are the results of the survey accurate, or do iPhone users just tend to stretch the truth more than their smartphone counterparts?

Exclusivity Does Matter

AdMob released their April 2010 Mobile Metrics report yesterday. As always, it’s full of a bunch of interesting information. However, one key piece of data stood out.

In the US, AdMob is reporting 10.7M iPhone OS and 8.7M Android devices accessed its network in April. That is a ratio of 1.2 iPhones for every one Android device. In the rest of the world, 16.8M iPhone OS and 2.9M Android devices accessed its network in April. That is a ration of 5.8 iPhones for every one Android device.

Why the big difference? The iPhone does not have a carrier exclusive relationship in the rest of the world as it does here in the US with AT&T. In fact, lets look at the ratio of iPhones to Android devices in a few select countries to show just how dominant the iPhone is in countries with no exclusivity:

Country Ratio Exclusivity
United States 1.2 AT&T
United Kingdom 6.6 None
France 10.2 None
Canada 10.8 None
China 0.8 China Unicom

Source data: AdMob Mobile Metrics Report, April 2010

I sure hope that Apple is getting paid well by AT&T, because the data confirms what I pointed out earlier this month – Apple is losing the opportunity to dominate the US smartphone market through its exclusive AT&T arrangement.

Head over to the Admob blog at to download the April 2010 Mobile Metrics report and the country specific data.

First Quarter Mobile Statistics

You can say what you like about Apple. You can love ’em or hate ’em, but make no mistake, they’re delivering results – in spades. Yesterday’s quarterly results were impressive, and they were dominated by results from the iPhone. Last quarter alone, Apple sold 8.75 million units. Over the last two quarters, that makes an impressive 17.5 million iPhones have been sold.

Combining those results with other reports from around the web has led me to the following conclusions:

  1. For those who thought the desktop internet was huge, the mobile internet is going to blow it away.
    Mary Meeker and crew’s latest Internet Trends Report reinforced and built on the positive mobile internet outlook from their December mobile internet report. I recommend reading both reports if you are thinking about or doing anything mobile. My key takeaways from their latest report are
           1) mobile will be bigger than the desktop in five years,
           2) there will be 10x more mobile internet devices sold than desktop internet devices, and
           3) mobile usage is more about data (web usage, texting, etc.) than voice.
  2. Websites will need to be not only accesible but also usable over mobile devices.
    Nielsen is one of my favorite research companies because their notes are concise and to the point. A recent Nielsen study looking at the penetration rates of smartphones versus feature phones projects that smartphone will overtake features phone by mid-2011. Why is this important? Smartphone users access data and the mobile internet a lot more than feature phone users.
  3. While Apple still dominates mobile web traffic, your applications need to work across all platforms.
    Quantcast puts out a lot of great information on both desktop and mobile internet usage. They recently reported on mobile marketshare for both operating systems and handset manufacturers. Comparing the two reports against Apple’s results is interesting. In operating system market share, Apple has declined from a peak of over 75% in January 2009 to just over 60% in March 2010, while selling more units. Over the same period, Android’s market share has increased from under 8% to 17.1%. Android’s reach is expanding – rapidly.
  4. RIM’s mobile web share will improve, and overall usage for the mobile web will follow.
    comScore’s February 2010 Mobile Market Share Report reinforced both Apple’s results and the Qunatcast numbers, with one major addition – BlackBerry maker RIM still leads the race with 42% of the market. Apple’s been holding steady at 25%, and Android is quickly gaining on both at the expense of Palm, Windows Mobile and others. RIM’s low mobile web share shows just how poor their platform is for web browsing, but rumor has it that BlackBerry 6.0 will sport an improved webKit-based browsing experience. When that occurs, more BlackBerry users will use the web, and there are a lot of them.
  5. I expect growth rates in mobile internet usage to accelerate during the second half of this year. 
    Just like last quarter, the mobile web continues to grow with no signs of slowing. We’ve seen a better than 20% year-over-year increase in traffic to mobilesites that we host. All leading indicators, such as smartphone market share and shipments, point to increased usage of the mobile internet.

 If you haven’t put a mobile strategy in place for your marketing efforts, or worse yet, if you haven’t even looked at your web presence on a mobile phone, feel free to contact us. We’d be more than happy to answer any questions you have and help you develop an effective mobile presence for your service or business.

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