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Smartphone subscribers make up most app users in US

by Sarah Griffiths on 5 October 2010, 17:14

Tags: comScore

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Smartphone users now outnumber their less-smart peers when accessing mobile content through browsers and apps, according to a new study.

comScore's MobiLens service said US smartphone subscribers made up 60 percent of those who used a downloaded app and 55 percent of those who used a browser in the 3 month period ending this August.

In August, 75.6m mobile subscribers aged 13 and over used downloaded apps, with smartphone users representing 60.4 percent, up from 43.6 percent in August 2009, according to the study. For the same period, 80.8m mobile subscribers used their browser, with smartphone subscribers comprising 55.5 percent, up from 41.4 percent a year ago.

Mark Donovan, comScore VP of mobile heralded the number of smartphone owners accessing apps and browsers as "a watershed moment in the industry".

"Although Smartphones still make up less than a quarter of the U.S. mobile market, they are generating the lion's share of mobile content consumption. With Smartphones' share of the pie destined to get greater over time, marketers and content providers should begin to shift their focus towards developing with primarily these devices in mind," he said.

While men accounted for 56 percent of smartphone subscribers who downloaded apps or browsers in August, women are narrowing the gap with the remaining 44 percent, a 5.5 percent year-on-year increase.

The study also found teenagers (13-17yrs) are showing the strongest growth in using downloaded apps and browsers, up 1.4 percent since a year ago to almost 7 percent, while 18-24 year-olds represent almost 17 percent of the audience, up just over half a percent since last year.

Weather and apps were the top categories accessed through downloaded apps in August and were used by over a third of US smartphone subscribers. Social networking apps were used by over 30 percent while news apps were popular with around 18 percent.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, over half of the smartphone audience used a search engine through their browser, making it the most popular category.  Meanwhile almost half of subscribers accessed social networking sites via browser, 40 percent looked up news updates, and near a third accessed weather forecasts and sport information.

Here is a chart showing the most popular categories accessed though apps and browsers.


Top Content Accessed through App/Browser
3 Month Avg. Ending Aug. 2010
Total U.S. Smartphone Subscribers Ages 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens


Share of Smartphone Subscribers

Used Downloaded App

Accessed weather


Accessed maps


Accessed social networking


Accessed search


Accessed news


Used Browser

Accessed search


Accessed social networking


Accessed news


Accessed weather


Accessed sports information



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