Nielsen found that at its peak - between 11pm and midnight - 90 per cent of data is consumed via wi-fi.
Its usage increases every hour after 5pm, while 3G data use peaks just before the working day starts, again at lunchtime and then during the early evening commute. But 3G usage only ever tips just past 20 per cent.
Looking at 3G data alone implies that between 6pm and midnight, mobile data usage decreases by more than 55 per cent, but including wi-fi, it actually increases by almost 30 per cent.
Nielsen says that mobile data ‘offloading’, where wi-fi is the preferred method of receiving internet content, is due to it typically being part of unlimited data allowance.
“Previously, the main insight into the volume of mobile traffic came from the networks’ own records. Now, with Nielsen Smartphone Analytics we can complete the whole consumer picture," said David Gosen, Nielsen European MD for digital.
“The implications for all stakeholders in the industry are enormous in terms of being able to show the total level of demand for mobile data, the drivers of that usage, and how it varies by operator and application type.”
Nielsen electronically measures smartphone usage with a meter installed on-device, and has an average of 1500 monthly adult users. It focuses on traffic, application usage, web usage, telephony and hardware performance.