Popularity still reigns among smartphone owners who stick primarily to using the top 25 apps, while long-tail apps are used by less than 10 percent of users. This notable stat an dmany others came from recent research by Analysys Mason's principal analysts, Martin Scott and Ronan de Renesse in their report "Consumer smartphoine usage: mobile apps and entertainment consumtion."
It appears most users are yet not savvy enough to take advantage of the money saving aspects of Wi-Fi. Only 64 percent of respondents to Analysys Mason's survey used both Wi-Fi and cellular data on their smartphones. The analysts profiled the real-world usage of over 1000 smartphone users across France, Germany, Spain, the UK and the USA during August and September 2011. They break down usage behaviour by handset manufacturer, operating system, country, age and gender. They also looked at how data traffic use varies by handset manufacturer, operating system, country and age, and even broke out by age the smartphone usage of apps such as Facebook, Skype, Viber and WhatsApp Messenger.
Although most smartphone users take advantage of wireless data, 18 percent don't bother with data plans or do data on a pre-paid basis because their usage is so low. The analysts said in the report that these users "presumably either own the smartphone mainly for the sake of having a sleek shiny device, or use it with a non-data contract or on a prepaid basis, relying on Wi-Fi (or in some cases nothing at all) for data connectivity."
They also said that although Wi-Fi has been useful in mitigating traffic growth and potential overload on the networks, "the Wi-Fi connection is not controlled by the operator [and presents] a risk of disintermediation." This is because operators have less of an incentive to subsidise a device that is also used on competitors’ networks. Wi-Fi also drains the device battery faster.
They found that Google Play (for Android users) and Apple’s App Store account for about 90 percent of all app downloads on smartphones. But the analysts don't believe that the size of the app inventory, or catalog, is a strong driver of this ratio. They said the “let’s offer many apps and users will come" argument does not hold, referring to the long-tail app statistic above..
The report shows a clear distinction, however, between operating systems regarding the level of usage for apps outside the top-25 apps. Android and iOS are clearly leading the pack in usage. So it turns out that the quality of the devices and the app experience is more important than the size of the app catalogue as long as the most popular apps are available.
In a relatedconnected consumer survey, Analysys Mason said that 91 percent of all tablet users are streaming video and that regardless of their operator, 28 percent of iPhone users believe they are already using a 4G network.