Web Browsing and App Downloads on the Rise, says Nielsen

Browsing the web was the fastest growing activity on UK mobile phones between the second and third quarters of 200p, according to new research from The Nielsen Company. The number of Britons using mobile Internet increased by 1.6 million, from 8.8 million in Q2 2009 to 10.4 million in Q3 2009. This means over one-fifth of people in the UK with a mobile now use their handset to browse the web.
Downloading applications or software was the second-fastest growing activity. Driven mostly by Nokia and iPhone owners, the number of Britons engaged in this activity increased by just over one million, from 3.1 million in Q2 to 4.1 million, or 8% of Britons with a mobile, in Q3.
The number of people using their mobile to send and receive email rose by almost 800,000, while the number using their phone to send texts and to receive text alerts both rose by 700,000. But newer forms of mobile technology also feature prominently, with video being the sixth-fastest growing activity (up by half a million) followed by location-based services, which were used by 400,000 more Britons in Q3 2009 than in Q2.
Despite this, Edward Kershaw, Vice President of Mobile Media at The Nielsen Company says:
Although there have been sizeable increases in the take-up of new mobile technologies, such as video and location-based services they remain niche forms of behaviour. Although the era of the handset as a truly multimedia device on a mass-market level lies somewhere on the horizon, the key for companies to successfully harness mobile lies in a realistic understanding of what media activities people on a large-scale are actually doing on their handsets now.
The number of people in the UK using Smartphones increased by 10% between Q2 and Q3 2009 from 5.6 million to 6.2 million over 577,000 new users. Despite this increase the Smartphone share of the UK market grew by just 1%, from 14 to 15% of all UK mobile phone owners.
Although Nokia remains the dominant manufacturer in this sector, with 2.7 million users or 44% of Smartphone owners, its share has been eroded by BlackBerry-maker RIM and Apple. BlackBerrys increased their share amongst UK Smartphone owners from 14 to 19%, while Apple increased its share from 14 to 17%. BlackBerrys were the fastest-growing Smartphone, with almost 382,000 new UK users. This was 50% more than the iPhone, which had just over 254,000 new users.
Although the number of Smartphone users increased by 10%, they still only account for one in every seven mobile owners, says Kershaw. Whilst Smartphones get all the media attention, its important not to overlook what the vast majority of Britons are actually using. Its easy to be blinded by the hype, but this results in a distorted picture of the mobile market. It will be interesting to see if the recent launches of BlackBerrys Storm 2 and the Palm Pre – dubbed the iPhone killer – will result in a great leap of Smartphone market share in the UK.