The researchers and pollsters at Neilson.com have recently released some statistics that show how important portable devices, especially, have created a growing industry in themselves and in the software and applications that run them. Working through our email is by far the most common activity, taking up about (Besides the usual margins of error, Nielson have adjusted their definitions of web sites and online categories in the last couple of years). What else do we do, according to their recent surveys?
Email is by far the most common use of our mobile devices, around 40%. Social networking constitutes the second major use of our time (10%), before a fairly precipitous fall in numbers to more specific topics of interest. Looking for general entertainment information takes almost 4% of our time and we spend about 2% of our time looking specifically for information about movies, for example. But the people at Nielson also wanted to see how people accessed software to pursue these activities.
Perhaps most strikingly, though, smartphone users are growing ever more sophisticated with, and demanding, useful smartphone software and applications that allow their micro-portable devices to do many of the same things that their laptops do. How they search for it isconcerning how people ‘prefer’ to find information about such software and how they actually get that information. Fifty-seven percent prefer to use the applications store on their phones, though in fact 51% of respondents had used it in the previous thirty days. The next most preferred is via a family member or friend (low tech, to be sure, but with eons of proven results). From there is a precipitous fall off to third-party sites or print reviews, etc.
But some clarification of definitions would be necessary here, as Nielson did with the definitions of websites. Twelve percent of respondents ‘prefered’ to use sync software like iTunes, though 15% actually did so – meaning about 3% do it but would rather do something else. Yet iTunes includes access to The iTunes Store, where applications are exclusively bought. Thus iTunes seems rather more to fit the category ‘Searching the Application Store on My Phone,’ than merely a means of synchronization.
However we parse the categories, the numbers show the many ways people are seeking the latest information about their devices and the blooming market of software that can work with them. Clearly the breadth of means and media to get information about new software shows a vibrant and growing market for software development and sales. We do not like to blow our horn too much, but we feel compelled to remind our loyal readers that this blog pointed out back in early April that the success of the Apple iPad would be of less importance than our growing expectations that portable devices could do most of what our traditional laptops did. These Nielson statistics put hard numbers on that expectation.