Appetite for social networking sites such as Facebook is driving record data usage on smartphones, new research by analyst firm CCS Insight has revealed.
CCS Insight's 2011 Mobile Internet Usage Report shows that Facebook is rapidly becoming the leading platform for mobile phone users in Europe. The CCS Insight report surveyed 7,030 respondents in the US, UK, Spain, Netherlands, Italy, Germany and France.
The analysts researched how consumers use their mobile phones and found that Facebook is now one of the top three providers for messaging (email) as well as a popular destination for watching video clips.
CCS insight applications and content director Paolo Pescatore said: ‘Facebook is fast becoming the default destination for all things mobile. The mobile phone is now one of the most prolific consumer electronics devices on the planet. The exponential growth in service usage cannot be ignored and is reshaping the mobile market.’
Meanwhile, 24 to 35 year olds were also revealed to be the most targeted market for mobile services, as they own multiple devices compared with 35 to 50 year olds, who have been slower to adopt mobile internet.
However, CSS Insight claims that greater focus should be placed on over-35s as although they have been slower to adopt the mobile internet, they are now raising their usage levels.
Pescatore said: ‘For years the industry has been obsessed with 16 to 24 year olds but rapid adoption of smartphones by an older audience means it is time to focus an older demographic for mobile services.’
Pescatore concluded: ‘The role of the operators continues to diminish, but there are opportunities for the mobile industry. People want to access a range of web-based services on multiple devices and we expect mobile to play an even greater role in 12 months' time.’
Other findings include the fact that PCs are still the primary device for consuming most services and for loading content onto mobile phones with some 70% to 80% of respondents saying it was their mains source of music, email, IM, browsing, social networking and online gaming.
The report also found that Wi-Fi is becoming increasingly important. Nearly 40% of respondents have Wi-Fi in their phone and connect to their Wi-Fi network at home. One-sixth to one-third actively look for Wi-Fi connections when they are out and about, which the report concludes is good news for operators looking to offload traffic from their networks.