BIA/Kelsey Mobile Consumer Study Reveals Surge in Non-voice Communications, Driven by Smartphone Proliferation

Local media execs to consider the influence of consumer usage on the mobile advertising opportunity during BIA/Kelsey's ILM:09 conference, Dec. 9-11 in Los Angeles

Nov 17, 2009, 05:00 ET from BIA/Kelsey

CHANTILLY, Va., Nov. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- The latest wave of Mobile Market View, a consumer study of adult U.S. mobile phone users conducted by BIA/Kelsey with research partner ConStat, reveals a rapid rise in mobile device usage for non-voice communications--text messages, e-mail and Internet access--driven primarily by the proliferation of smartphones.

Among mobile consumers surveyed in October for Mobile Market View, 18.5 percent searched the Internet for products or services in their local area, up from 15.6 percent in 2008, and 16.7 percent connected with a social network such as MySpace or Facebook, up from 9.6 percent in 2008.

"This third wave of our Mobile Market View study confirms several key trends taking shape in the rapidly evolving mobile advertising space," said Steve Marshall, director of research and consulting, BIA/Kelsey. "Not the least among these trends is that mobile is quickly developing into a viable platform for local commercial activity."

The study also reveals a growing class of "heavy users" of non-voice modalities. For example, the percentage of users making more than 10 mobile Internet accesses per week continues to increase significantly, now representing over one-fifth of all mobile users. Among mobile users:

  • 48.2 percent sent or received more than 10 text (SMS) messages per week
  • 21 percent had more than 10 Internet accesses per week
  • 20 percent sent or received more than 10 e-mails per week

Mobile Local Advertising and Commerce

Mobile Market View also indicates use of mobile devices for commercial searches increased across the board in 2009. Of particular interest, searches for local products or services now exceed out-of-market searches by a wide margin. Among consumers using mobile devices:

  • 18.5 percent searched the Internet for local products or services
  • 15.9 percent obtained information about movies or other entertainment
  • 13.3 percent obtained information about restaurants or bars
  • 11.1 percent searched the Internet for products or services outside their local area
  • 4 percent purchased a physical item that needed to be shipped (e.g., a book)
  • 3 percent used a coupon from their mobile phone

In addition to consumer smartphone adoption, recent developments in the mobile marketplace--mobile-optimized Web sites, the rapid evolution and implementation of Google's Android OS, and its planned acquisition of mobile ad network AdMob--will drive mobile Internet use and advertising growth.

"Google is clearly interested in replicating its online dominance by positioning itself at the mobile OS level, and around the content that users increasingly consume on smartphones," said Michael Boland, program director, Mobile Local Media, BIA/Kelsey. "Its brand affinity among users and one-stop-shop approach for advertisers will accelerate the shift of dollars spent on mobile advertising in the coming months."

Mobile Video

The survey also reveals usage of mobile devices for viewing or sending video has increased appreciably, with the highest level of traffic in user-generated videos. Among those surveyed for Mobile Market View, 7.9 percent watched or purchased a TV program or segment, 11.7 percent watched or purchased a music video or Internet video and 17.7 percent sent or received videos.

"Between waves one and three of Mobile Market View, consumers have basically doubled their use of the mobile platform for non-voice communications," said Rick Ducey, chief strategy officer, BIA/Kelsey. "This represents a fundamental and rapid shift in media use, which needs to be considered in determining the appropriate mix and spending levels among local platforms. Media companies that do not currently offer a differentiated mobile advertising option had better get there quickly."

Mobile Local Media at ILM:09

The mobile local advertising opportunity will be a key topic at BIA/Kelsey's upcoming conference, Interactive Local Media 2009 (ILM:09), Dec. 9-11 in Los Angeles, California. The program features a fast-paced Mobile Local Media SuperForum, led by BIA/Kelsey's Boland, with a keynote address by Google's Surojit Chatterjee, followed by three micro sessions:

  • Mobile Local 2.0 Demos: Beyond 'What?' and 'Where?'
  • Location & Monetization: Ad Targeting in a Mobile World
  • Apps, Web & SMS: What's the Right Mobile Strategy?

ILM:09 is BIA/Kelsey's annual conference devoted to digital media with a local focus. The theme for this year's event is "Monetizing the Local Opportunity," and the agenda will cover a range of important topics, including local social media, local search and mobile search. Conference sponsors include 3L System Group, Acxiom, AgendiZe, Amdocs, AT&T Interactive, Cellcity, Exalead, Kenshoo,, Local Matters, Localeze, Lyris, Marchex, MatchCraft, MaxiPage and WebsPlanet. Association partners include Association of Directory Publishers (ADP), International Classified Media Association (ICMA), National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and Yellow Pages Association (YPA). Media partners include AIM Group, and YP Talk. For more information, visit

About Mobile Market View

Mobile Market View is a tracking study of mobile user behavior conducted by BIA/Kelsey and research partner ConStat. The third wave of the study was conducted in October 2009 via an online 40-question survey of 504 U.S. mobile phone users aged 18 and older (Wave I was conducted in September 2007; Wave II in October 2008). The study measures a wide range of mobile phone activities/behaviors, with the objectives of gauging overall trends in usage, assessing experience and awareness with various mobile phone features and functions, assessing usage of mobile phones for commercial activities, anticipating future mobile phone purchase behavior and assessing receptiveness to new business models.

Findings from Mobile Market View are made available to clients of BIA/Kelsey's Mobile Local Media Continuous Advisory Service. Contact Michael Taylor at for more information on BIA/Kelsey advisory services.

About BIA/Kelsey

BIA/Kelsey advises companies in the local media space through Consulting and Valuation Services, Research, Continuous Advisory Services and Conferences. Since 1983 BIA/Kelsey has been a resource to the media, mobile advertising, telecommunications, Yellow Pages and electronic directories markets, as well as to government agencies, law firms and investment companies looking to understand trends and revenue drivers. BIA/Kelsey's annual conferences draw executives from across industries seeking expert guidance on how companies are finding innovative ways to grow. Additional information is available at and The company's blogs are located at and, and it can be found on Twitter through