A recent study conducted by the Online Publishers Association and Frank N. Magid Associates, Inc. studied how consumers were accessing content, such as video and news information, and otherwise spending time on their smartphones.  “A Portrait of Today’s Smartphone User” reached the following conclusions:

  • There are approximately 107 million smartphone users in the United States (an estimated 44 percent of the U.S. internet population), which is up from 2011, when 73.2 million Americans (or 31 percent) were smartphone users.  In 2013, smartphone penetration is expected to reach 142.3 million users (or 57 percent).
  • Approximately 31 percent of smartphone users watch video on their devices.  Of those users who watch video on their devices, 68 percent watch short-form news and entertainment clips (e.g., TV show clips and weather forecasts); 57 percent watch user-generated content (e.g., YouTube videos); 49 percent watch music videos; 26 percent watch full-length TV shows; 23 percent watch full-length movies; and 12 percent watch full-length sports.
  • Smartphone users regularly access various types of content on their devices including local news (29 percent); national news (24 percent); sports information (21 percent); entertainment content (20 percent); financial information (18 percent); newspaper content (15 percent); and magazine content (10 percent).   In fact, 35 percent of smartphone users who own multiple devices say that they prefer to access weather information through their smartphone than a personal computer/laptop or a tablet.  Sixteen percent of such users prefer to access news and other information through their smartphone than any other device. 
  • Smartphone users spend more time accessing content via the mobile web (57 percent of time) than through apps (43 percent of time), although the type of content matters.  For example, weather information is accessed more through apps than the mobile web, whereas both news and entertainment information are accessed more frequently through the mobile web.  And in the past year, nearly all smartphone users downloaded apps, with the number of apps downloaded averaging at 36 apps per user.
  • Approximately 28 percent of smartphone users reported that smartphone advertising is the same as Internet advertising.  However, those smartphone users who reported paying for content on their smartphones (approximately 24 percent of all smartphone users) are more likely to take action after seeing a smartphone ad.  For example, 31 percent of these “content buyers” reported having clicked on a smartphone ad during the last six month as compared to 15 percent of smartphone users generally.  Likewise, 30 percent of “content buyers” have used a special offer or coupon delivered via smartphone as compared to just 12 percent of smartphone users generally.