Social media and video are key drivers of smartphone data usage: Analysys Mason

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Entertainment accounts for over half of smartphone data traffic with social networking and video as the main drivers, according to the latest consumer smartphone analytics research from Analysys Mason.

Data collected for the research looks at the apps and services that are driving engagement, the role of cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity in driving usage and in-depth insight into activities such as video usage, social/comms apps and e-commerce.

According to Stephen Sale, research director at Analysys Mason, the data shows that entertainment is the dominant activity on a smartphone, in terms of both time spent (nearly a third of overall time) and data usage (57%).

Social networking was the largest single contributor to time spent on a smartphone (15% out of an average of 171 minutes overall). In the US, Facebook was used for 39 minutes per day on average. Social networking is increasingly media-rich, which accounts for its disproportionate contribution to data usage (29%). Dedicated TV/video services, such as the YouTube app, were the second largest contributor to data usage (24%) but accounted for only 6% of time spent.

Video consumption is common among all demographics; video-friendly tariffs should not be aimed solely at the young. Over 80% of panelists used dedicated TV/video apps, with advertising-funded services such as YouTube the most commonly used. An increasing proportion of panelists used paid-for services such as Google Play Movies (TVoD) and Netflix (SVoD). Millennials were the most intensive users overall, but penetration remains high across older age groups too.

The research also indicates that limited engagement with Messenger could threaten Facebook’s platform ambitions. Average usage for Facebook Messenger was relatively low for a communications app. It was used for just 3.2 minutes per day on average in the UK, and 3.5 minutes per day in the US. This is less than half the time spent on WhatsApp, and usage is not growing. These low usage levels pose a challenge for Facebook given that Messenger is the stated vehicle for its platform ambitions.

Meanwhile, India’s ecommerce market is relatively mature, and Amazon and Flipkart lead the race to dominate. Panelists in India spent over 32 minutes per month on average using Amazon’s app, and 33 minutes using Flipkart’s. Both apps had nearly identical levels of penetration among participants, at around 35%. For comparison, Amazon’s app was used by 41% of panelists in the US for 31 minutes per month. Snapdeal is the third-largest player in India, but the gap between it and frontrunners Amazon and Flipkart is substantial.

The consumer smartphone analytics research from Analysys Mason analyses real-world usage from over 8,000 smartphones in Germany, India, UK and USA. The data was collected by Verto Analytics using a passive on-device monitoring app on panelists’ smartphones and analyzed by Analysys Mason’s research team.

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