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Market Research Report

Consumer Smartphone Usage: Key Findings From an On-device Tracker

Published by Analysys Mason Product code 242942
Published Content info PPT (65 slides); Excel
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Consumer Smartphone Usage: Key Findings From an On-device Tracker
Published: May 28, 2012 Content info: PPT (65 slides); Excel

This publication has been discontinued on July 30, 2014.



Smartphones offer consumers a single device to meet all of their communication needs - real-world tracking provides unparalleled insight.

This report profiles the real-world usage of over 1000 smartphone users across France, Germany, Spain, the UK and the USA during August and September 2011. The information collected includes foreground app usage, data traffic (cellular and Wi-Fi), location (home, away and travelling), voice and SMS usage.


This Report provides:

  • Insight into real-world smartphone usage behaviour by handset manufacturer, operating system, country, age and gender.
  • A complete view of what happens on the device, irrespective of connectivity type.
  • An understanding of the relationship between passive on-device measurement and traditional survey methodologies.
  • Real-world smartphone traffic split by Wi-Fi and cellular data.
  • An insight into how data traffic use varies by handset manufacturer, OS, country and age.
  • Details of: " how different modes of communication are used by smartphone users throughout the day
  • how text-based communication is evolving on smartphones
  • the real-world impact of WhatsApp Messenger, over-the-top messaging and IM
  • Facebook, Skype, Viber and WhatsApp Messenger smartphone usage, by age
  • the penetration and usage of apps by category, handset manufacturer, OS, country and age
  • real-world browsing usage and the resulting impact on the app market
  • how operating systems and app store strategies affects app consumption by category of apps.
Table of Contents

Table of Contents

  • 7.Executive summary
  • 8.Using an on-device tracker to monitor consumer smartphone usage in Europe and the USA offers insights into traffic, apps and services
  • 9.Our analysis shows that heavy users are a minority, but are responsible for driving up levels of wireless data traffic - most have iPhones
  • 10.Basic voice and messaging continue to be key activities on the smartphone - but much text-based communication is now 'over-the-top'
  • 11.Gaming, IM and social networking account for more user time than other apps, but most smartphone owners use the mobile browser
  • 12.Key implications and recommendations
  • 13.Key implications and recommendations for operators [1]
  • 14.Key implications and recommendations for operators [2]
  • 15.Key implications and recommendations for vendors and developers
  • 16.Introduction
  • 17.Real-world usage: we measured consumer smartphone usage via an on-device monitoring application, in partnership with Arbitron Mobile
  • 18.Comparing the characteristics of passive on-device smartphone usage monitoring, with 'traditional' questionnaire-based consumer surveys
  • 19.Panel characteristics: demographics and device/OS market share
  • 20.The smartphone user panel was designed to be representative of the smartphone market in the countries covered
  • 21.More than 50% of our smartphone panel were Android users in all countries except Spain
  • 22.Apple and HTC accounted for almost half of the smartphones monitored in our panel
  • 23.Smartphone data traffic: cellular, Wi-Fi and the impact of 'power users'
  • 24.Smartphone data use varies according to OS, handset manufacturer, tariff, age, gender and location
  • 25.Only 64% of respondents used both Wi-Fi and cellular data on their smartphone during our two-month study
  • 26.Connectivity determines usage (or vice versa): Wi-Fi-only panellists were light users; panellists who used both Wi-Fi and cellular were heavy users
  • 27.Half of consumers generated less than 221MB of smartphone data (across both cellular and Wi-Fi) per month
  • 28.Wi-Fi had a greater number of very light and very heavy users whereas cellular data usage is distributed more regularly
  • 29.Heavier cellular data users are not necessarily also heavier Wi-Fi users - 'power users' are not that common
  • 30.iPhone users are heavier users of data than other consumers, and increasing iPhone penetration could stimulate data revenue growth
  • 31.Cellular data users in the USA are slightly 'hungrier' than in France, Germany and the UK
  • 32.Younger consumers generate more smartphone data traffic on cellular and Wi-Fi networks than older consumers
  • 33.The gap between claimed and actual smartphone usage indicates that consumers have a distorted view of the value of wireless data connectivity
  • 34.Voice and messaging: smartphones and OTT services
  • 35.Smartphones are fulfilling their promise of providing a single device to meet all communication needs, from basic voice to OTT services
  • 36.Email has become even more popular than SMS for smartphone users
  • 37.Almost half of smartphone users use IM or OTT messaging services, but RCS-e continues to represent an opportunity for operators
  • 38.A comparison with our Connected Consumer Survey reveals disparities between perceived and actual text-based communication usage
  • 39.As we see in Spain, the misalignment between the pricing of operator services and consumers' perceived value drives the shift to OTT apps
  • 40.Facebook and WhatsApp Messenger do not have the universal age appeal of mobile VoIP services
  • 41.Women are more likely than men to use social network apps on their smartphones, but less likely to use mobile VoIP
  • 42.Content and applications: usage drivers and customer segmentation
  • 43.The smartphone content and app market is driven by only a tiny subset of its ecosystem
  • 44.Pre-installed 'platform' apps continue to dominate communication and utility app usage, but add-on apps are gaining ground
  • 45.Utility and social networking apps are more widely used than games
  • 46.Browsing is a key part of the mobile content experience, driven by searching and Internet links in apps
  • 47.Most categories of add-on apps are used for less than 2 minutes per day by each user, even if they have achieved widespread penetration
  • 48.The most frequently used add-on apps come from a variety of categories, but almost half of the apps were used only once by our panellists
  • 49.Panellists in Spain used apps for as much time as panellists in the USA, despite a much lower penetration of high-end smartphones
  • 50.The operating system clearly has an impact on the take-up of apps - most app categories enjoy more than 50% penetration on Android and iOS
  • 51.The iPhone prevails as a media consumption device
  • 52.Average app frequency of usage for iOS and Android is diluted by single usage of 'long-tail' apps
  • 53.The success of an app distribution strategy is driven by quality of experience, rather than simply by offering a wide choice of apps
  • 54.People in the 18 - 34 age category are clearly driving the app market, but this will change as older people increasingly move onto Android devices
  • 55.App tastes vary across different age groups and pleasing people in the 18 - 34 age category should not be the top priority
  • 56.Methodology and definitions
  • 57.Methodology and definitions [1]
  • 58.Methodology and definitions [2]
  • 59.Methodology and definitions [3]
  • 60.About Arbitron Mobile and Analysys Mason's Connected Consumer Survey
  • 61.About the authors and Analysys Mason
  • 62.About the authors
  • 63.About Analysys Mason
  • 64.Research from Analysys Mason
  • 65.Consulting from Analysys Mason

List of figures

  • Figure 1: Selected statistics from the panel of smartphone users
  • Figure 2: Distribution of monthly data traffic percentiles by smartphone operating system
  • Figure 3: Distribution of smartphone panellists by usage of SMS, IM/OTT messaging services and WhatsApp Messenger
  • Figure 4: Penetration rate versus average daily minutes of face time per panellist by category of add-on app
  • Figure 5: Illustration of Analysys Mason - Arbitron smartphone data analysis process
  • Figure 6: Characteristics of different types of primary research
  • Figure 7: Number of smartphone users in our panel, by country, August and September 2011
  • Figure 8: Panel of smartphone users by smartphone operating system
  • Figure 9: Panel of smartphone users by age group
  • Figure 10: Panel of smartphone users by operating system and country
  • Figure 11: Panel of smartphone users, by vendor
  • Figure 12: Statistics related to smartphone data traffic, panel of smartphone users
  • Figure 13: Distribution of smartphone panellists, by type of data connectivity
  • Figure 14: Panellists' smartphone data usage and the distribution of total smartphone traffic
  • Figure 15: Distribution of total average monthly smartphone data traffic for panellists, by percentile
  • Figure 16: Distribution of total monthly smartphone cellular data traffic, by respondent's data usage percentile
  • Figure 17: Distribution of total monthly smartphone Wi-Fi traffic, by percentile
  • Figure 18: The relationship between the relative heaviness of Wi-Fi and cellular data usage by panellist percentile
  • Figure 19: Distribution of monthly data traffic percentiles by smartphone operating system
  • Figure 20: Average monthly cellular data consumption, by country
  • Figure 21: Average monthly cellular and Wi-Fi smartphone data consumption, by age range
  • Figure 22: Perceived and actual usage of mobile content and apps, by smartphone operating system
  • Figure 23: Time of day during which different smartphone communication activities were initiated, as a percentage of daily instances within the panel
  • Figure 24: Active use of different text-based communication apps, by operating system
  • Figure 25: Distribution of smartphone panellists by usage of SMS, IM/OTT messaging services and WhatsApp Messenger
  • Figure 26: Perceived and actual frequent usage of communications apps by type
  • Figure 27: Active use of different communication applications among smartphone panellists, by country
  • Figure 28: Active use of different selected mobile applications among smartphone panellists, by age group
  • Figure 29: Active use of different communication apps among smartphone panellists, by gender
  • Figure 30: Selected panel statistics related to smartphone content and apps usage
  • Figure 31: Proportion of platform and add-on apps used by smartphone panellists, by number and face time
  • Figure 32: Share of smartphone panellists using at least one app, by category
  • Figure 33: Average usage per smartphone respondent by category
  • Figure 34: Add-on app categories penetration rate versus average face-time value for users of the apps
  • Figure 35: Frequency of usage of add-on apps among smartphone panellists
  • Figure 36: Breakdown of the top-100 most frequently used add-on apps, by category
  • Figure 37: Average number of add-on apps used and add-on app usage, per panellist, by country
  • Figure 38: App/service category penetration among smartphone panellists, by operating system
  • Figure 39: App/service media category penetration among smartphone panellists, by operating system
  • Figure 40: Number of add-on apps by frequency of usage per user, by operating system
  • Figure 41: Penetration of top 50 add-on apps by operating system
  • Figure 42: Face-time value by operating system for the top 100 apps
  • Figure 43: Age group distribution for each app category
  • Figure 44: Penetration of app categories within each age group
  • Figure 45: Utility app categorisation examples
  • Figure 46: Entertainment app categorisation examples
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