It is clear that 2012 has been a year when the smartphone has transformed into a household necessity, particularly in the Western world. With the initial form of the modern tablet device, starting with the Kindle eBook reader about five years ago (a few months after the first iPhone), a new screen form factor was born. The iPad that followed in early 2010 has only accelerated this new way of working and consuming content, and 2012 saw great updates to the Samsung Galaxy Tab, Nook and most recently, the Microsoft Surface.
So here is my Top 5 Mobile Stats of 2012
1. 1B Global Mobile Smartphone Owners
This might seem like a huge number, but there are approximately 6 billion mobile phones used in the global market. So the vast majority is still dominated by old feature phones with little or no capacity for data, apps, e-mail and web access. Thus, the potential for growth is still massive, particularly in areas of the less developed world where people are using only mobile devices with no landline-type infrastructure. India, Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America are the major centers for this growth potential. In the developed world, the mobile phone has quickly become the go-to source for everyday items such as airline boarding passes, mobile banking, photography, social networking, news, shopping, etc.
2. 90M U.S. Tablet Users in 2014 – 29% of U.S. Adults
As mentioned earlier, the Kindle was first released in November 2007 and the iPad in March 2010. The fact that this device type will be in the hands of 1 in 3 adults in about a year from now (let alone the global usage) is almost miraculous. One could speculate as to whether the timing is now perfect for users to move from the old laptop/desktop paradigm of primary computing to a smaller device with the ability to consume and create content. However, what is probably less debatable is that most people today, whether at home and/or work, are either using these devices as part of their functional lives or are using a service that has a iPad or Android device option to access their product or content.
3. 8B Google Mobile Revenue 2012 (up 3 times year-over-year)
Google’s Mobile Revenue is now almost 15% of their total 2012 annual revenue run rate, which is remarkable considering it was only 6.5% in 2011, and it doesn’t directly account for the impressive Android growth rates, particularly in the smartphone sector. Considering that most of this 8 billion is for the purposes of business promotion, either acquisition or branding, it can be safely said that the money is following the eyeballs, and if your business or content is not on mobile, it soon may not be seen at all.
4. 81% of Time is Spent on Mobile Apps
Given the huge growth toward mobile devices, what people are doing on these devices becomes a key question, and the overwhelming answer is that they are using apps. In 2011, 72% of time was spent with mobile apps vs. 28% on the mobile web (i.e. using a mobile web browser). Now in 2012, this has risen to 81% of time being spent on mobile apps vs. the mobile web, so it is becoming ever more clear that it is the App that is how people prefer to consume content and do things such as purchasing and performing daily activities. The power of the native mobile app allows the creator far more ability to create features, as well as have more control of the user experience than on the web, so it is not surprising that it is the first choice of entities like businesses and media publications.
5. Average iPhone User has 100 Apps on his/her Device
The iPhone series of phones is the largest selling smartphone device brand in the world. Stats also show both that iOS devices currently make about three times more revenue for App creators than Android and that users are are increasingly using a wider variety of apps beyond the Top 50 apps year over year. Therefore, it is not surprising that Apple stated this year that the average iPhone user has 100 apps on his/her device. As with many of the above stats, the indication that mobile apps are only growing in importance is the clear trend.