Nations divided by a common mobile

Image Ken Banks,

In the Canterville Ghost, Oscar Wilde wrote: ‘We have really everything in common with America nowadays except, of course, language’. We know there are language differences and cultural differences, but are there differences in the way we use mobiles? And how do we differ in our usage from Japan and other parts of Europe? Handily analysts comScore  have released a study on mobile usage and behaviours in Japan, the United States and Europe and it has revealed significant differences among consumers by geography.

Speaking about the differences in mobile usage  Mark Donovan, comScore senior vice president of mobile said. “As we look across markets, dramatic differences in mobile media consumption, brand adoption and user behavior become evident. These differences are even more pronounced than they are for PC-based Internet usage due to the complex nature of mobile – including various device capabilities, operating systems and methods of accessing content. For brands seeking to establish a multi-market presence, understanding usage dynamics across geographies is essential to implementing a successful global mobile marketing strategy.”

Mobile Behaviour Varies Across Markets

Mobile users in Japan were the “most connected” of the three markets, with more than 75% using connected media (browsed, accessed applications or downloaded content) in June, compared to 43.7% in the US and 38.5% in Europe.

Japanese mobile users also displayed the strongest usage of both applications and browsers with 59.3% of the entire mobile population accessing their browsers in June and 42.3% accessing applications. Comparatively 34.0% of mobile users in the US and 25.8% in Europe used their mobile browsers, with 31.1% in the US and 24.9% in Europe accessing applications.

Messaging methods also varied with Europeans displaying the strongest use of text messaging with 81.7% sending a text message in June, compared to 66.8% in the US and just 40.1% in Japan. Japanese users exhibited the highest reach in the email category at 54%, while consumers in the US were most likely to use instant messaging services on their mobile (17.2%).

Social networking/blogs reached the greatest percentage of mobile users in the US at 21.3%, followed by Japan at 17.0% and Europe at 14.7%. Japanese users were most likely to capture photos (63.0%) and watch TV/video (22.0%) on their mobiles, while Europeans were most likely to listen to music (24.2%) and play games (24.1%).

Select Mobile Behaviors in Japan, United States and EU5 (UK, DE, FR, ES and IT)
June 2010
Total Mobile Audience Age 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens
Percent of Total Mobile Audience
Japan United States Europe
Total Audience: 13+ yrs old 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
Used connected media (Browsed, Accessed Applications or Downloaded Content) 75.2% 43.7% 38.5%
Used browser 59.3% 34.0% 25.8%
Used application 42.3% 31.1% 24.9%
Messaging Usage
Sent text message to another phone 40.1% 66.8% 81.7%
Used major instant messaging service 3.3% 17.2% 12.6%
Used email (work or personal) 54.0% 27.9% 18.8%
Social Media/Entertainment
Accessed Social Networking Site or Blog 17.0% 21.3% 14.7%
Listened to music on mobile phone 12.5% 13.9% 24.2%
Took photos 63.0% 50.6% 56.8%
Captured video 15.4% 19.2% 25.8%
Watched TV and/or video on mobile phone 22.0% 4.8% 5.4%
Played games 16.3% 22.5% 24.1%
Financial Information
Accessed bank accounts 8.0% 9.4% 7.1%
Accessed financial news or stock quotes 16.1% 10.0% 7.2%
Accessed online retail 7.2% 5.5% 4.1%
Accessed classifieds 4.2% 6.6% 4.2%
Accessed travel service 3.3% 4.7% 4.1%
Accessed maps 15.7% 16.0% 10.8%
Accessed traffic reports 12.6% 8.2% 5.9%
Accessed weather 34.1% 22.3% 13.7%

Mobile Media Usage by Demographic Segment

A demographic analysis of mobile media users across markets showed that mobile media consumption was more balanced across age segments in Japan when compared to the US and Europe. In the US, 25-34 year olds were 44% more likely to access mobile media than an average mobile user, with 18-24 year olds 39% more likely. In Europe, 18-24 year olds represented the most-connected segment, 54% more likely to be mobile media users, while persons age 25-34 were 35% more likely.

The US and Europe also showed greater gender disparity among mobile media audiences. Females were 9% less likely to be mobile media users in the US, while females in Europe were 16% less likely.

Mobile Media Usage in Japan, United States and EU5 (UK, DE, FR, ES and IT) by Demographic Segment
June 2010
Total Mobile Audience Age 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens
Connected Media Audience Index*
Japan United States Europe
Total Audience: 13+ yrs old 100 100 100
Male 102 110 116
Female 98 91 84
Persons Age:
13-17 114 130 133
18-24 117 139 154
25-34 114 144 135
35-44 111 117 103
45-54 105 85 78
55+ 80 39 57
* Index = % demographic segment / % demographic base*100

Top Mobile Social Media Brands

Across markets, local and global brands showed varying levels of adoption by mobile audiences. In all three markets, the top mobile social media brand mirrored the top PC-based social networking brand with Facebook leading in the US and Europe and Mixi leading in Japan. Local brands Gree and Mobage Town were the #2 and #4 most accessed social networking brands in Japan. Twitter was the only brand to be ranked in the top four in all markets.

Top Mobile Social Networking/Chat/Blog Brands in Japan, United States and EU5 (UK, DE, FR, ES and IT) by Audience Size
June 2010
Total Mobile Audience Age 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens
Japan United States Europe
Mixi Facebook Facebook
Gree MySpace YouTube
Twitter YouTube MSN / Windows Live / Bing
Mobage Town Twitter Twitter

Is this what you’ve found? We’d be interested to hear your comments.

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