Mobile App Usage Continues to be Popular

comscore-mobile-content-usage-dec-11.jpgDuring the three-month average ending December 2011, 47.6% of US mobile subscribers used downloaded applications on their mobile device, up 12% from the three-month average ending September 2011, according to comScore Mobile Metrix data. For the period, downloaded applications remained on par with browsers, which were used by 47.5% of subscribers (up 10.7% from 42.1%).

Texting remained the most common activity, used by 74.3% of US mobile subscribers, up 4.5% from 71.1%.

Results from Jumptap released in February 2012 indicate that application share of traffic on the Jumptap network rose to 50.7% in December 2011, representing 8.3% growth from 46.8% in November. For 2011 overall, mobile web saw the larger share of traffic on the network for 10 of the 12 months, with a high of 58.6% in February, and a low of 47.3% in August.

comScore figures indicate that other mobile activities also saw an rise in subscriber engagement from the prior three-month period, including accessing of social networking sites or blogs, which increased 12% from 31.5% to 35.3% of mobile subscribers, and game-playing, which grew 9% to 31.4% of the mobile audience. Additionally, 23.8% of mobile subscribers listened to music on their phones (up 14% from 20.9% the prior period).

Mobile also continues to grow in popularity as a channel for acquiring financial information and account servicing. According to a separate comScore report [download page] released in February 2012, in Q2 2011, 16% of the total US mobile audience indicated that they had conducted some type of financial-related activity from their mobile device in the past month, led by those who accessed information specifically related to banking services (“mobile bankers”). And while browser use remains strong among mobile bankers, up 8% quarter-over-quarter for Q2 2011, app usage by mobile bankers has surged, up 20% from Q1, and 57% from Q4 2010.

Google, Apple Pick Up Platform Share

Meanwhile, in total, 97.9 million people in the US owned smartphones during the three months ending in December 2011, up 7.6% from the three-month period ending in November. Google Android improved its hold as the top smartphone platform with 47.3% market share, up 5.6% from 44.8% for the three-month period ending in September. Apple also grew its share, reaching 29.6% of the smartphone market, up 8% from 27.4% in the prior reporting period.

RIM’s fall continued, as it ranked third with 16% share (down 15% from 18.9%), followed by Microsoft (4.7%) and Symbian (1.4%).

Apple Improves Subscriber Share

For the three-month average period ending in December, 234 million Americans ages 13 and older used mobile devices. Device manufacturer Samsung ranked as the top OEM with 25.3% of US mobile subscribers (unchanged from the prior period), followed by LG with 20% share (down from 20.6%).

Apple was the big mover, and only gainer for the period, picking up 2.2% points to reach 12.4% share of mobile subscribers. By contrast, Motorola lost 0.5% points, moving down to 13.3%, while RIM lost 0.4% points to 6.7%.

Apple Catching Up to Motorola

Apple’s 2.2% point gain in mobile subscriber share, coupled with Motorola’s 0.5% point loss means that the two manufacturers are now separated by less than a percentage point. Historical comScore data shows that for the three-month average ending in November 2011, a month earlier, the gap was 2.5% points (13.7% vs. 11.2%), while 6 months earlier, for the three-month average ending in June 2011, the gap between the two was 5.6% points.

About the Data: MobiLens data is derived from an intelligent online survey of a nationally representative sample of mobile subscribers age 13 and above. Data on mobile phone usage refers to a respondent’s primary mobile phone and does not include data related to a respondent’s secondary device.