Users want mobile site not apps

A study by network Orange has found that “european” mobile users prefer mobile websites to apps.

The Orange “Mobile Exposure 2010”, annual independent study, measures how mobile media users are engaging with mobile content and the mobile internet. The research, covers mobile users – including iPhone users –  in just the UK, France, Spain and Poland rather than the whole of Europe.

Mobile web more than apps

According to the survey mobile browser use is most prominent in the UK, with 7 out of 10 mobile media users choosing to find information and content in this way, instead of using mobile apps. This is similar in France, where 68% of users favour the browser over 60% who prefer apps. For certain content such as news, 73% of female mobile media users in the UK prefer to access the web via browser rather than an application (65% for men). In less mature mobile media markets, there is, however, more appetite for apps; browser versus application usage in Spain is equal at 42%, while only Polish users favour mobile apps (45%) over the mobile internet (39%).

Understandably 58% of UK users want to find the same things on their mobile as on a PC, as do 55% of French users, 58% in Spain and 72% in Poland, suggesting browser popularity is because of its growing ability to offer a familiar Internet experience on mobile. Just as free content on the Internet impacted established media industries, it is convenience of use that most impacts mobile media adoption. What European users most like about mobile media is the quality of navigation (56%), time-saving (51%) and quick access (26%).

Paul Francois Fournier, Executive Vice President Online and Advertising Business, Orange says: “These findings reflect the current maturity of the individual markets but also provide an insight into future trends for mobile media use. In France and the UK where the mobile internet is more established, there are more optimised sites for phones and the experience is better, encouraging higher browser usage. Although mobile browser use is lower in Spain and Poland, we believe this is a trend to watch as smartphone penetration increases, innovative pricing is adopted and faster networks are deployed.”

The death of print?

Exposure 2010 also shows how mobile media increasingly impacts traditional media consumption. Currently, mobile is negatively impacting print media, with 16% of mobile media users in the UK stating they read fewer magazines and 14% stating they read fewer newspapers; this trend is likely to continue as more consumers use smartphones and tablet devices. Internet use is, however, positively impacted with PC browsing increasing for 25% of respondents and television increasing for 14%. As interactive programming increases, television broadcasters have the most to gain from engaging with mobile media users. The data also shows how the mobile plays a role as an extension of PC access to media. 40% of European mobile media users will quickly check info on their mobile, before further investigating the same information when they are back at their PC.

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