The rise of the 'digital omnivore'

ComScore has published its latest report on the mobile landscape, analysing key trends and statistics from 2011 and predicting growth and usage patterns for 2012.The report focuses primarily on the US, Canada, Japan and the so-called EU5 (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK) and explores the growth of smartphone adoption and shifts in digital media consumption.Rapid adoption of smartphonesThere are now more than 100 million smartphone owners in the EU5 countries, representing 44% of the total of mobile users.  In the UK and Spain smartphones have already exceeded 50% of the total mobile markets.  The popularity of smartphones and the wider availability of wifi networks are both contributing to an increased consumer engagement with mobile media - browsing the mobile web, downloading content or using apps.  The UK was second only to Japan in mobile media usage and this behaviour increased 9.2% across the EU5 in 2011.Changing behavioursMobile devices (including e-readers and tablets) are already driving 8% of internet traffic in the US and the figures are set to rise globally.  Mobile devices are changing the ways in which people access digital content and interact with social networks.  Users are becoming multi-device consumers - now regularly using several ‘screens' (including tablet and mobile devices) - to access mobile content.  These ‘digital omnivores potentially offer significant opportunities for app developers, publishers and advertisers and it is critical that they understand how users are engaging with content on the go.RetailThe figures suggest that over half of US smartphone users are using their mobile devices inside ‘bricks and mortar' shops, for a number of purposes including price checking/comparison, product reviews and finding discount vouchers.  Retailers need to understand how people are using the devices in their stores and look for opportunities to be gained from this behaviour.Social networkingIn December 2011, more than 48 million EU5 smartphone users used their devices to access social networking sites, or blogs, at least once.  More than 50% of them were accessing social networking sites nearly every day.  The most popular activities in the EU5 were reading posts from personal contacts (79.5%) and posting status updates (65.2%).Social networking is set to become an important player for brands and advertisers, particularly as people increase their interaction with mobile content and use more location based services.