The number of smartphone visitors to maps sites and apps has jumped 24 per cent in the past six months, according to comScore, based on data from its Mobile Metrix platform - up to a total 92m unique visitors.
That's an 83 per cent penetration among smartphone users – much higher than on desktop, where map usage makes up around 40 per cent of the online population.
“Consumers are increasingly integrating mapping into their mobile lives and that behaviour will only increase as location-based technology develops further,” said Eli Goodman, media evangelist at comScore. “Apple’s first foray into maps may have been a temporary setback, but more competition in this market will only bring better technology and improved navigation services over time – and those advancements will continue to pull these searches away from desktop. But there is opportunity for greater search monetisation in the long run, because location-enabled search means the ability to deliver highly relevant paid results to potential customers in the vicinity or planning a trip to the area. And whichever mapping service delivers the best user experience is sure to receive the greatest spoils.”
The growth of mobile map usage seems to be coming at the expense of desktop, as users shift over to mobile to help them find their way. Searches for mapping or navigation on desktop where down 34 per cent over the past 15 months, with search clicks showing an even steeper decline, down 41 per cent.