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February 18, 2011

Top 10 Mobile Trends of 2010: Highlights from comScore’s Mobile Year in Review

Earlier this week comScore released our inaugural Mobile Year in Review report, a comprehensive 30-page report full of data, charts and graphs highlighting the key mobile media trends of the year in the U.S. EU5 (UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy), and Japan. 2010 was a landmark year for the mobile marketplace, as we saw companies push the envelope in product innovation and consumers begin to widely adopt new behaviors in the mobile environment.

Below is a summary of what we see as the top ten overarching mobile trends of 2010:

  1. Phones Keep Getting ‘Smarter’: Smartphone adoption continues to increase across the U.S. and Europe, with most markets surpassing 25-30% market penetration for smartphones. The proliferation of new devices hitting the market in 2010 – including the iPhone 4, Blackberry Storm 2, and Motorola Droid X – has given consumers strong smartphone options across wireless carriers that is helping this segment of the market gain traction.
  2. iPhone Dominates Device Sales: The top two devices sold in 2010 in both the U.S. and EU5 were the iPhone 3GS and iPhone4, respectively. The #3 device in the U.S. was the Blackberry Curve, while the #3 device in the EU5 was the Nokia 5800 – XpressMusic.
  3. Android Storms Smartphone Market: 2010 saw Google’s Android platform grab hold in the mobile marketplace in a big way. In the U.S. alone, Android’s share of the smartphone market jumped from 5% to 29% in just one year, and it leapfrogged Apple to become the #2 smartphone platform after RIM. The number of different smartphones running Android certainly helped accelerate this trend, as did the desire for many consumers on Verizon to opt for a smartphone with a strong app economy.
  4. The App Ecosystem Blossoms: iPhone paved the way for the app ecosystem to emerge as developers create new and interesting apps for consumers every day. While most early apps were developed primarily for the iPhone, we are now seeing vibrant app ecosystems for Android, Blackberry and others.
  5. Email Shifts to the Mobile Phone: 2010 saw usage of PC-based email decline, particularly among teenagers, and it appears that much of that email activity is moving to people’s mobile devices. While Blackberry was once in a league of its own in terms of email functionality, many other devices have since caught up, and consumers are responding. Email now exists across media and mobile devices will continue to be a growing part of that trend.
  6. Location is Everything: Location-based check-in services like Foursquare, Gowalla and Facebook Places all entered the digital lexicon in 2010 and have begun to gain consumer adoption. Other GPS-enabled apps like Google Maps and Garmin have also proved to be among the most popular and widely downloaded.
  7. Social Owns Mobile: Social media is one of the most prevalent and fastest-growing activities on the mobile phone. In the U.S. the number of mobile social media users grew 56% to lead all content categories, and in the UK Facebook accounts for 40% of all time spent on mobile sites.
  8. Mobile Commerce Readies for Lift-off: Mobile commerce, or m-commerce, has yet to gain traction in a significant way, but as smartphone adoption accelerates, technology has begun to facilitate mobile transactions. The next phase in m-commerce will be the emergence of the “mobile wallet” with direct payments coming from the mobile device, with Starbucks leading the way among merchants in installing the technology for such payments.
  9. iPad Redefines the Mobile Landscape: Apple’s blockbuster launch of the iPad in early 2010 set the stage for a completely new category of device to emerge, as several other tablets and e-readers hit the market by the end of the year. As a reasonably sophisticated computing device that is also mobile, the iPad has given new definition to the types of behaviors in which consumers will engage in the mobile environment. The iPad is also causing time-shifting in how and when consumers engage with content, with the iPad showing a high percentage of activity late at night as people wind down for the evening.
  10. Mobile Advertising Market Takes Shape: As mobile media consumption increases, it was only a matter of time before the mobile advertising boom began to take shape. Apple got into the act with the introduction of the iAd, which has already attracted many of the top brand advertisers like AT&T, Citi and Disney. Expect to see more and better quality ad units alongside mobile media content in 2011.

You can see from this selection of highlights that 2010 was another outstanding year, and this year promises to shine even brighter. If you haven’t already downloaded the 2010 Mobile Year in Review, you can do so here. We hope you enjoy and that it gives you a few things to think about on your way to success in 2011…

Tags: Android, Apple, Apps, iOS, iPhone, Mobile, Smartphone, Social