Mobile Web

Digital and Very Social: America Women and Technology Adoption

From Jackie Bergeron, VP, Local Audience Insights, Nielsen

April 18, 2011

While men have historically been considered the earliest adopters and heaviest consumers of new technology, this perception does not tell the whole story. At the recent International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF), Sabrina Crow, SVP & Managing Director for Media Client Services at The Nielsen Company, discussed how women are just as adept at navigating the new media landscape. The key difference is that women are utilizing new technologies in their own way. In particular, women are most likely to adopt new technology when it is social and relevant—that is, when it seamlessly improves their day-to-day lives.

With many tech products, females—especially younger women—are just as likely to upgrade their consumer electronics as males. A Nielsen survey on high-definition television (HDTV) purchase intent, for example, showed U.S. women aged 18-34 are just as likely to purchase the advanced TVs as men aged 35 and over.

An Economic Force
Technology companies who may have primarily focused on reaching men are missing the fact that niche female groups are just as valuable to marketers. Increasingly, and on a global scale, today’s women are heads of households and they are more educated, more diverse, and more integral to the labor force than ever before. And, they wield an enormous amount of purchasing power .

Engage on Their Terms – Make it Social and Relevant
These trends are especially important considering the evolving media landscape. While television is still the dominant medium, consumers are spending more and more time online and engaging with mobile devices like smartphones. Consumers are actively navigating their media options, and here too, women are displaying specific behaviors. On a social level, it’s no surprise that women talk and text on their mobile devices more than men. Nielsen data shows that women talk 28 percent more and text 14 percent more than men every month; they are also heavier users of social features of phones (SMS, MMS, social networking) compared to men who tend to use functional features more (GPS, email, Internet).

Online, women are more engaged than men, spending more time on fewer sites during a single sitting—a valuable attribute to advertisers. They also visit more social and community sites, which is especially important given the popularity of immediate online/social discussion during major TV events like awards shows and reality programming.

To connect with women, make it social and relevant. Women are much more likely to engage with media that seamlessly integrates and improves their day-to-day lives. For e-commerce marketers, this means women shop online primarily for necessities like groceries, health and beauty items, and clothing. Men, on the other hand, tend to shop online for more discretionary purchases, like music, consumer electronics, and tickets to concerts or sporting events. For television advertisers, this means women tend to watch specials and awards shows live so they can engage in immediate “community viewing” discussions. And they use DVRs to time-shift recurring series programming as they fit television into their schedules when it is most convenient and relevant to them.

While time-shifting is not as high among ethnic groups, we are noting important increases. Among African-American women 18-34, DVR penetration has exploded from 11.3 percent in February 2007 to 37.4 percent today. The same trend is also true among Hispanic women. In 2007, only 10.1 percent of Hispanic women 18-34 owned a DVR, but that number has now tripled, where DVR penetration has reached 32 percent as of February 2011.

Effective Pairing
The Nintendo Wii is a perfect example of a technology product that showcases the social and relevant elements needed to effectively attract women. According to recent Nielsen data, the Wii is the most popular gaming console among women, while men tend to prefer Microsoft’s Xbox. The Wii makes gaming more social by gathering families and friends to play in groups. The Wii is also relevant to women’s lives by offering a wide array of options that allow them to spend quality time with their loved ones while making fitness fun and functional.

As women continue to break misconceptions about technology habits, so too must marketers innovate to create meaningful campaigns that embody the unique way women consume media and technology. With an expanding piece of the economic pie, women are a prime and valuable audience, but only if you can appeal to their sensibilities.

Retailers Retool Sites to Ease Mobile Shopping

New York Times
Published: April 17, 2011

Retailers who once envisioned a vast new market of mobile shoppers eagerly hitting “buy” on their cellphones have run headlong into a harsh reality: their customers are all thumbs. Even as phones get more versatile and sophisticated, many retailers’ mobile sites and apps make it difficult to shop. It can be hard to examine items on a small screen, and the pages are often slow to load. Perhaps most frustrating, the process of entering information on a mobile keyboard requires either surgical precision or very tiny fingers.

As a result, retailers report that only about 2 percent of their sales are coming from mobile devices, a number well below the expectations of many e-commerce analysts.

“Everyone was so excited last year, but then sales through mobile haven’t been growing as rapidly as we would have thought,” said Sucharita Mulpuru of Forrester Research, which tracks the technology industry. “Many retailers haven’t even optimized their sites for mobile, and who wants to spend their time pinching screens and mistyping links?”

The potential for added revenue from mobile sales remains huge, retailers believe. EBay said that in 2010 it generated almost $2 billion in mobile sales, and is on track to double that this year.

But major retailers like Bed Bath and Beyond, Coach, Dillard’s and Ann Taylor still do not have sites designed specifically for mobile phones — known as optimized sites — nor do they have apps. By mid-2010, according to the Acquity Group, just 12 percent of the top 500 United States online retailers had sites compatible with mobile browsers, while just 7 percent had apps.

Now retailers are rapidly realizing they no longer have a choice, because customers expect to be able to shop on their phones and want the experience to be as good or better than on a computer. That is what 85 percent of online shoppers told Tealeaf, a software company that monitors buyers’ online behavior. So e-commerce companies are racing to figure out the best way to accommodate tiny screens and big fingers so they don’t miss out on sales to people standing in the lunch line or riding the train.

And they have been missing out on sales. Shoppers told Tealeaf that mobile shopping was more frustrating than sitting in traffic or visiting the D.M.V., which helps explain why, despite all the interest, people are not yet spending much when shopping on their phones. ComScore, a Web analytics firm, estimates that shoppers spent $1.1 billion via their phones in the last three months of 2010, a sharp increase over the course of the year, but still just 2.6 percent of total e-commerce sales for that period.

Bailey Vincent Clark, a 24-year-old writer and mother in Staunton, Va., shops on her phone for convenience, regularly buying Bare Escentuals makeup on Sephora’s optimized mobile site because she can do it from anywhere, and quickly.

Still, she said, “shopping on my phone can be extremely frustrating, because most Web sites aren’t streamlined for cell usage, leaving me squinting and pinching at the screen, struggling to enter information.”

The tepid response to mobile shopping has retailers pursuing a variety of improvements to compensate for a phone’s limitations, with things like voice search, one-touch checkout and simplified mobile sites.

Alibris, the book seller, had held off introducing a mobile site until late last year, when it decided mobile visits to its regular Web site were rising so much that it had no choice.

“When you transform a giant PC screen onto a little device, you have to decide what not to bring along,” said Jeanie Bunker, general manager of Alibris Retail. “So we basically stripped out all the things we thought were not relevant to the mobile user.”

For instance, it removed the rare-books tab, assuming that someone spending hundreds on a book would want to do extensive research. And since students looking for used textbooks were typing in ISBN numbers as they stood in college bookstores, Alibris included an ISBN search box on the mobile home page.

Many retailers point to Amazon’s apps as worthy models. Unlike most retailers, Amazon started developing mobile Web sites in 2006, before the first iPhone was available. To minimize typing, Amazon offers bar code scanning, voice search and automatic fill-in on typed searches. Type “Har,” for instance, and it displays Harry Potter books.

Quick stats on mobile smartphone usage

Smartphone ownership in the United States is surging. That’s according to fresh data published today from the comScore MobiLens service.

The report points to key trends in the US mobile phone industry during the three month average period ending February 2011.

For the three month average period ending in February, 234 million Americans ages 13 and older used mobile devices.

Based on comScore’s survey of more than 30,000 US mobile subscribers, estimates now place US smartphone ownership at 69.5 million, a substantial 13% spike from the preceding three-month period.

In the race for smartphone supremacy, Google’s Android grew 7.0 percentage points since November, strengthening its #1 position with 33.0 percent market share.

RIM, meanwhile, finished second with 28.9 percent market share. Apple placed third (25.2 percent), Microsoft fourth (7.7 percent), and Palm (2.8 percent) rounded out the top five.

With regard to mobile content usage, 68.8 percent of US mobile subscribers used text messaging on their mobile device in February 2011. Browsers were used by 38.4 percent of subscribers (up 3.1 percentage points), and downloaded mobile apps were used by 36.6 percent of the mobile audience (up 3.2 percentage points).

Similar noteworthy spikes were observed in the usage of social networking and mobile gaming.

Accessing of social networking sites or blogs increased 3.3 percentage points, representing 26.8 percent of mobile subscribers. Playing games represented 24.6 percent of the mobile audience, while listening to music represented 17.5 percent.

Pharma companies investing in mobile phone apps for tracking diabetes

from Wed, 16 Feb 2011

Pharma giants Merck and Novartis have increased their investment in mobile phone applications and educational websites, it has emerged.

A report by consultancy Ernst and Young revealed that the two companies have spent 78 per cent more on apps in an attempt to convince patients they should take their drug treatments, as well as eating properly and taking exercise .
It was also found that pharmaceutical firms started 97 different projects for using information technology to benefit patient health in 2010, as compared to the 124 projects that had been initiated in the four years before that. It was shown that around 41 per cent of these projects were for applications on smartphones, which was a rise of 11 per cent from 2006. Drug manufacturers are now taking more responsibility for ensuring patients are successfully taking their treatments, especially with increased pressure to prove that their drugs are value for money. Among the applications developed for the iPhone are an app for learning about diabetes and the tracking of levels of blood glucose, nutrition, and activity, one that provides the opportunity to maintain a record of your vaccinations, and a German language map that allows you to pinpoint locations of diabetes specialists.

Key Q1 2011 Mobile Trends

comScore released new data from mobilens today offering new insight into the behavior and growth of the mobile phone market. Here are the three most important points we’ve gleaned form the data:

  1. SMS (sending a text to another person) saw zero growth, making us wonder if we’re seeing the beginning of a cap on this market
  2. Social network access grew by 1.1%, which we believe to be significant and underscores the ongoing trend that people are managing their social networks via mobile device
  3. App downloads increased 2X more than browser access. We think the root cause of this is people getting smart phones, many of which were probably acquired over the holidays. However, we expect to see less of a delta between these two statistics next quarter, as people with new smartphones typically load up on apps, but ultimately end up ignoring about 80% of what they download. This is what we call call “download and dump” behavior.

Top 10 Mobile Trends of 2010: Highlights from comScore’s Mobile Year in Review

Below is a summary of what we see as the top ten overarching mobile trends of 2010:

  1. Phones Keep Getting ‘Smarter’: Smartphone adoption continues to increase across the U.S. and Europe, with most markets surpassing 25-30% market penetration for smartphones. The proliferation of new devices hitting the market in 2010 – including the iPhone 4, Blackberry Storm 2, and Motorola Droid X – has given consumers strong smartphone options across wireless carriers that is helping this segment of the market gain traction.
  2. iPhone Dominates Device Sales: The top two devices sold in 2010 in both the U.S. and EU5 were the iPhone 3GS and iPhone4, respectively. The #3 device in the U.S. was the Blackberry Curve, while the #3 device in the EU5 was the Nokia 5800 – XpressMusic.
  3. Android Storms Smartphone Market: 2010 saw Google’s Android platform grab hold in the mobile marketplace in a big way. In the U.S. alone, Android’s share of the smartphone market jumped from 5% to 29% in just one year, and it leapfrogged Apple to become the #2 smartphone platform after RIM. The number of different smartphones running Android certainly helped accelerate this trend, as did the desire for many consumers on Verizon to opt for a smartphone with a strong app economy.
  4. The App Ecosystem Blossoms: iPhone paved the way for the app ecosystem to emerge as developers create new and interesting apps for consumers every day. While most early apps were developed primarily for the iPhone, we are now seeing vibrant app ecosystems for Android, Blackberry and others.
  5. Email Shifts to the Mobile Phone: 2010 saw usage of PC-based email decline, particularly among teenagers, and it appears that much of that email activity is moving to people’s mobile devices. While Blackberry was once in a league of its own in terms of email functionality, many other devices have since caught up, and consumers are responding. Email now exists across media and mobile devices will continue to be a growing part of that trend.
  6. Location is Everything: Location-based check-in services like Foursquare, Gowalla and Facebook Places all entered the digital lexicon in 2010 and have begun to gain consumer adoption. Other GPS-enabled apps like Google Maps and Garmin have also proved to be among the most popular and widely downloaded.
  7. Social Owns Mobile: Social media is one of the most prevalent and fastest-growing activities on the mobile phone. In the U.S. the number of mobile social media users grew 56% to lead all content categories, and in the UK Facebook accounts for 40% of all time spent on mobile sites.
  8. Mobile Commerce Readies for Lift-off: Mobile commerce, or m-commerce, has yet to gain traction in a significant way, but as smartphone adoption accelerates, technology has begun to facilitate mobile transactions. The next phase in m-commerce will be the emergence of the “mobile wallet” with direct payments coming from the mobile device, with Starbucks leading the way among merchants in installing the technology for such payments.
  9. iPad Redefines the Mobile Landscape: Apple’s blockbuster launch of the iPad in early 2010 set the stage for a completely new category of device to emerge, as several other tablets and e-readers hit the market by the end of the year. As a reasonably sophisticated computing device that is also mobile, the iPad has given new definition to the types of behaviors in which consumers will engage in the mobile environment. The iPad is also causing time-shifting in how and when consumers engage with content, with the iPad showing a high percentage of activity late at night as people wind down for the evening.
  10. Mobile Advertising Market Takes Shape: As mobile media consumption increases, it was only a matter of time before the mobile advertising boom began to take shape. Apple got into the act with the introduction of the iAd, which has already attracted many of the top brand advertisers like AT&T, Citi and Disney. Expect to see more and better quality ad units alongside mobile media content in 2011.

You can see from this selection of highlights that 2010 was another outstanding year, and this year promises to shine even brighter. If you haven’t already downloaded the 2010 Mobile Year in Review, you can do so here. We hope you enjoy and that it gives you a few things to think about on your way to success in 2011…

Our look back at 2010 in digital retailing

Seven intriguing facts from our look back at 2010 in digital retailing:

  1. Facebook surpassed each of the top three web properties Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft based on time spent. Facebook now accounts for 12.3% of all time being spent online, up from 7.2% in 2009.
  2. Communication among younger audiences is shifting from web-based email to instant messaging, social networking and mobile. In fact, the 12-17 year old age group is spending 59% LESS TIME on web-based email.
  3. Flash sale sites (,,,, and gained traction in 2010. Gilt Groupe closed in on one million visitors at the end of 2010, up 52% from one year ago.
  4. Group-buying sites increased in popularity in 2010. Groupon saw visitation grow 712% to 10.7 million visitors. LivingSocial was up 438% to 5.7 million visitors.
  5. Social networking drove growth in display ad impressions. Facebook alone served more than 1 trillion display ads in 2010.
  6. There are significant demographic differences between people who visit retail sites on a PC versus their mobile phones. Mobile retail users are male and younger, in the 18-34 year old segment.
  7. Retail e-commerce was up 10% in 2010 over 2009 reaching $142 billion. Consumer electronics, computer hardware, and books & magazines were the fastest growing e-commerce categories in 2010.

Top Mobile Activities in the U.S.

Text messaging lead as the top mobile activity with 68 percent of Americans texting in December 2010, while more than half took a photo with their mobile device (52.4 percent) and 39.5 percent of subscribers accessed news and information. Although application usage continued to grow in 2010, slightly more Americans (36.4 percent) used their mobile browser than accessed applications (34.4 percent).