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Nielsen Mobile Consumer Report: Despite smartphone functionality text messaging remains king for mobile users

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By Gillian West, Social media manager

February 26, 2013 | 3 min read

In the UK, text messaging remains the primary function of mobile handsets along with email despite handsets offering high-speed connections, built-in multimedia and apps, according to the latest Nielsen Mobile Consumer Report released to coincide with Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

On average UK consumers send 764 text messages per month and send/receive 164.5 minutes of calls each month. Of those surveyed 38 per cent of UK smartphone users use their handset for online banking with just under a third (30 per cent) shopping online via their mobile, with 37 per cent having purchased via their handset.

Smartphone users in South Korea and China are more likely than Brits to use their handsets for shopping with 43 per cent of respondents claiming they use their handsets to make purchases. In comparison, in Turkey just 3 per cent of users said they would use their smartphone to shop online.

Nearly half (48 per cent) of all smartphone users in the UK use location based services/GPS and 38 per cent of British smartphone owners admitted to using their handset to stream music online.

In the UK, US, and Italy value for money was the most important factor for consumers when choosing a handset, whereas in Russia and Brazil ‘stylish design’ is cited as the most important factor when making a purchasing decision. Chinese consumers were found to be most concerned about the choice of apps offered by a device. Over half (51 per cent) of all Russian users have two or more phones, similarly 36 per cent of Chinese consumers owned two or more handsets. In the UK only 16 per cent of users own more than one handset.

In the UK 97 per cent of people over the age of 16 own some form of mobile device, with 61 per cent using a smartphone. 73 per cent of smartphone owners in the UK are aged between 25-34, 67 per cent of males own a smartphone compared with 54 per cent of females. The average cost of running a mobile device with a data plan was found to be around £25.

In China 37 per cent of smartphone owners who watch videos on their handsets were found to do so at least twice per day. In the UK only 16 per cent consume video on their phones once a day, over a third of UK users are only using their handset to consume video and watch clips once a week. The results show that over three quarters (76 per cent) of smartphone users are continuing to watch television in a traditional manner and remain unaffected by mobile video.

In terms of ads over half (58 per cent) of British mobile users are receiving ads to their phone at least once a day. UK users said they were happy to receive ads if it gives them access to free content (39 per cent) or if it doesn’t take them away from the application they are using (30 per cent). Around half of all mobile users in Brazil, China, India and Russia also agreed they were happy to receive advertising if it meant free content, however, little more than a third of respondents in South Korea and Turkey were happy to receive ads.

According to Nielsen managing director David Gosen these results show how “patterns of behaviour are very different from one country to another” which is likely to affect both brands and carriers as “a strategy that works with consumers in one market, won’t necessarily work in another”.

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