Market Data / News

How Australians use Smartphones and Tablets

The AIMIA Mobile Industry Group has released the 9th edition of their annual survey looking at how Australians use their mobile phones.  The AIMIA Mobile Phone Lifestyle Index is available for downloading free from the AIMIA site and includes detailed information about smartphone and tablet usage, ranging from preferred carrier to app downloads and use of mobile content services.

Some key findings from this year’s survey:

  • 87% of respondents use websites and/or apps on a mobile device
  • 40% of respondents streamed music on a mobile device
  • 88% of respondents own a smartphone
  • 56% of respondents own a tablet
  • 63% of mobile shoppers pay by credit card
  • 71% of respondents access social media from a mobile device
  • 2/3 of respondents use their smartphone to compare prices and check product reviews
  • More than half of respondents had agreed to receive mobile messages from businesses

In general I would say that the survey base of just over 1000 respondents is weighted towards digitally savvy individuals who are more likely to own a smartphone or tablet than the average Australian.  While I wouldn’t rely on the device penetration figures, the device and app ownership breakdowns, usage behaviours and trends seem indicative of the smartphone & tablet owning Australian population.

Smartphone and Tablet Usage

Overall the survey found that tablets were used more than smartphones for visiting websites, buying things and reading or edit documents.  Apple iPad ownership is down from this time last year, with 68% of tablet ownership attributable to iPads, down from 77% in 2012.  Of the remaining tablets, 12% are Samsung branded tablets.

Entertainment Services

There was an increase in the overall usage of all types of entertainment services on smartphone and tablet devices. Respondents who have accessed video content on a smartphone were up 12% to 47%, and those who now stream music almost doubled from 21% to 40%.  Music streaming has overtaken listening to FM radio on a smartphone , which topped out at 38% after only a small margin of growth last year, due to the proliferation of music streaming services in 2013 .

  • Mobile TV up from 12 % in 2010 – 26% in 2013.
  • Videos up from 19% in 2010 to 47% in 2013
  • Videos up from 34% in 2012 to 47% in 2013
  • FM Radio up from 35% in 2012 to 38%  in 2013
  • Music Streaming up from 21% in 2012 to 40% in 2013

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Social Networking & Communication 

Social networking services continue to be extremely popular on mobile devices, with 71% of respondents accessing social networking services from their mobile device. Using mobile devices to share rich media like photos, images and videos is extremely popular with 78% of respondents using MMS.   Email has now become as much a mobile pastime as a dekstop activity, with almost 80% of respondents using their device to send and receive emails.

  • 71% use Social networking
  • 66% use Facebook
  • 33% use Twitter
  • 32% use Linkedin
  • 78% use Email
  • 76% send MMS
  • 43% using messaging
  • 39% use video calling

The most popular social networking services were Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn.  Two thirds of respondents access Facebook, 1/3 use Twitter and Linked in grew significantly to 32% up from 20% last year.

App Usage

App Usage continues to grow, with half the survey respondents having downloaded more than 10 apps and 15% more than 30 apps.  This is compared to actual usage of apps, which is slightly lower.  Only 21% of respondents actually use more than 1o apps on a regular basis, with 78% using fewer than 10.

The most popular apps continue to be based around mapping, creating photos and video and using social networks.   What is interesting is that the number of people willing to pay for these services is increasing, particularly in the creative fields.  Last year only 7% of respondents indicated they had paid for a photo, video or movie app.  This year that figure has almost tripled, to 18% of respondents.

  • 80% use maps & navigation
  • 61% use photo, video or movie apps
  • 52% use IM and social networking
  • 48% use music apps
  • 45% use search apps
  • 34% use shopping apps
  • 33% use eating out apps
  • 32% use managing money apps
  • 32% use travel apps

Advertising and Marketing

Australians are becoming more comfortable with receiving mobile based communications from businesses.   63% of respondents had agreed to receive SMS or MMS messages from a business, although most (43% of the total) had limited these relationships to less than 5 businesses.   Only a few years ago, in 2011 more than half of respondents had never agreed to receive messages from businesses. The businesses we are most likely to agree to receive messages from are banks and retail stores, particularly personal services like health & beauty

  • 58% of respondents had agreed to receive SMS or SMS messages from a bank
  • 27% of respondents had agreed to receive SMS or SMS messages from health & beauty services
  • 37% of respondents had agreed to receive SMS or SMS messages from other retail stores
  • 21% of respondents had agreed to receive SMS or SMS messages from department stores

Retail & Shopping

This year the AMPLI survey focussed on retail as a special topic.   The survey found that of those who had made purchases on a mobile phone, 63% had used a credit card, 52% Paypal and 48% Apple’s iTunes service.  The types of purchases leaned heavily to digital content for the mobile phone, with other popular m-commerce products including ticketing, books, clothing and shoes.

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Of those respondents who had made purchases using a mobile phone:

  • 65% paid for content for mobile phone
  • 53% paid for tickets
  • 34% paid for books
  • 32% paid for clothes, shoes, jewellery

Another interesting finding was that 28% of mobile shoppers noted that their in-store purchasing decreased as a result of beginning to shop on their mobile device.  This has  implications for retailers who do not have mobile commerce solutions in place. Especially with 38% of respondents indicated that their mobile phone purchasing will increase in the next 6 months.

Reflecting international research on the use of mobile phones in the purchasing decision process, AMPLI asked customers how they used their phone in the lead up to any kind of purchase.  Remarkably, approximately 2/3 of smartphone owners had used their device to compare prices and look at product or service reviews on their mobile phone.  Of these around 1/4 were doing it at least once a week.  This is indicative of a significant change in purchasing behaviour for Australian shoppers and is important for all retailers to be aware of.

To see all the data from the 9th AIMIA Australian Mobile Phone Lifestyle Index Survey 2013, including heaps more detail and charts, you can visit the AIMIA site and download the full report.




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