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A rapid rise in the rate of US smartphone adoption is driving a corresponding increase in local mobile search activity, according to the latest wave of the “Mobile Market View,” consumer study of US mobile phone users from The Kelsey Group and ConStat.

Nearly 19% of US mobile consumers now use an advanced mobile device and 49% plan to purchase one within two years, the survey found.

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In addition, this rapid switch to smartphones capable of accessing the internet is causing a marked increase in the level of mobile search activity. Almost 40% of mobile users report they access the internet from their mobile device. This represents a 6.5-point increase since September 2007.

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According to The Kelsey Group, consumers performed the following activities using their mobile devices during the past six months:

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  • Downloaded or looked at maps or directions: 17.6%, up from 10.8 % in 2007.
  • Searched the Internet for products or services in local area: 15.6%, up from 9.8% in 2007.
  • Searched the internet for products or services outside local area: 14.3%, up from 6.4% in 2007.
  • Obtained information about movies or other entertainment: 13.7%, up from 8.2% in 2007.
  • Connected with a social network such as MySpace or Facebook: 9.6%, up from 3.4% in 2007.

“We believe the introduction of more user-friendly smartphones is ushering in a new mobile paradigm where devices now offer an internet experience that is as easy as traditional voice connectivity,” said Matt Booth, SVP and program director, Interactive Local Media, The Kelsey Group. “The implication is that users will increasingly turn to their smartphones for local commercial and social search experiences, and the data certainly suggest this is already happening.”

The Kelsey group said that findings from Mobile Market View indicate a growth rate of mobile Internet users that is in line with its US Mobile Advertising Forecast: 2007-2012, reported last year.? That forecast projected mobile Internet users would grow at a compound annual growth rate of 19% through 2012. The latest Mobile Market View findings find that the percentage of mobile users who access the Internet from their mobile devices increased from 32.4% in 2007 to 38.9% in 2008, an annual growth rate of 20%.

About the survey: Mobile Market View is a tracking study of mobile user behavior conducted by The Kelsey Group and research partner ConStat. The second wave of the study was conducted in October 2008 via an online 39-question survey of 512 US mobile phone users 18+. The first wave of the study was conducted in September 2007.

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