Mobile Rocks

According to the comScore 2010 Mobile Year in Review report, mobile media adoption has continued to grow throughout the past year as consumers are increasingly turning to their mobiles for many other uses beyond just talking or even texting. Since December 2009 the number of mobile media users has grown significantly in the U.S. as 109 million U.S. mobile subscribers accessed mobile media in December 2010, up 7.6 percentage points versus year ago.

Driven primarily by Facebook, social networking is the fastest-growing mobile content category in the US: Nearly 58 million mobile subscribers accessed a social networking site at least monthly via mobile device as of December 2010, up 56% from the previous year, according to the report.

Fastest Growing Mobile Categories in the US (Total Audience; Dec 2010  vs Dec 2009)

Mobile Category

% Growth 2010 (+)

Social networking




Online Retail


General reference




Shopping guides


Restaurant information




Auction sites


Personal email


Source: comScore MobiLens, February 2011

Classifieds was the second-strongest mobile content growth category, reaching nearly 17 million mobile subscribers as of December, up 55% over the previous year, followed by online retail sites, up 53%.

Growth of Daily Users of Select Services in US (Dec 2010 vs. Dec.  2009)


% of  Mobile Subscribers



News & information


Social networking


Source: comScore MobiLens, February 2011

Facebook is a huge driver of mobile social networking up 121% over the previous year. The number of US users accessing the social networking site via mobile reached roughly 44 million as of December,YouTube and Twitter held the second and third position in the US, growing 74% and 71%, respectively, whereas the number of users accessing MySpace via mobile fell 20% in the US

Top Social Media Brands (by Total Audience % Growth Dec. 2009 vs. Dec. 2010)


% Change 2010









Source: comScore MobiLens, February 2011

Globally, mobile users in Japan displayed the strongest propensity for mobile media usage across categories. More than half of Japanese mobile subscribers used their browser in December 2010 (55.4%) and accessed applications (53.3%), far surpassing the U.S. and Europe. Japanese users were also the most likely to utilize their device to take photos with nearly 63% doing so in December. European mobile subscribers were the heaviest texters at  41.6%.

U.S. mobile users were most likely to access social networking sites or blogs on their mobile at 24.7%, followed by Japanese users  at 19.3%, and then Europeans at 18%. 

Top Mobile Activities in the U.S. (by Share of Total Mobile Users; 3 mo. avg. ending Dec. 2010)


% of Mobile Users

Sent text message


Took photos


Used connected Media


Accessed news and information


Used browser


Used  application


Used email


Accessed weather


Accessed social network or blog


Source: comScore MobiLens, February 2011

Other top mobile activities across geographies included playing games, accessing search and using maps. Europeans displayed the strongest propensity for listening to music on their mobile devices, at  25%. Europeans also displayed the strongest penetration of playing mobile games at 25.3%.

The U.S. mobile market displayed the most mature mobile banking market reaching 11.4% of mobile users, while 16.5%  of Japanese mobile users were most likely to access financial information or stock quotes.

Although in its infancy in the U.S. and European markets, mobile wallet capabilities, using mobile phones in place of debit or credit cards for in-person purchases, are beginning to come onto the scene. In early 2011, Starbucks announced that customers in thousands of locations can pay for items with their phones via an application that can be scanned across a reader at check out. nearly 10% of the Japanese mobile population uses this capability across a variety of transaction locations; perhaps offering a glimpse into the future potential of mobile wallet payments in the U.S. and Europe.

Concluding, the report notes that, during the past year, technology improvements, device innovations and growing mobile media consumption have laid the foundation for the development of a strong mobile ecosystem. The challenge for marketers and brands will be how to successfully navigate through one of the most complex and rapidly evolving mediums the world has ever seen. The next year should be one of the most exciting in mobile history.

For  more data and charts from the comScore PDF file, please visit this site.

5 comments about "Mobile Rocks".
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  1. Matt Silk from Waterfall, March 10, 2011 at 9:13 a.m.


    Great data here. Through 2010 and the beginning of 2011, we are seeing many more big brands put our RFPs and allocating real budgets towards mobile. Mobile has been waiting to shine for a number of years and it seems between smartphone adoption and the social media explosion we may have finally found the perfect storm.

    Do you have a breakdown of the fastest growing categories by channel (SMS, IVR, Mobile Web, Mobile App)?


    Matt Silk
    SVP, Waterfall Mobile, Inc. |

  2. John Rizzi from e-Dialog, March 10, 2011 at 3:17 p.m.

    comScore’s 2010 Mobile Year in Review is yet another confirmation that we are in a multichannel world when it comes to engaging with our customers. It makes sense and it’s also startling to see the incredible impact social networks are having on the race to mobile adoption. It’s an exciting and challenging time for marketers. Take a look at this post on on how Canadian retailer, Dynamite, included a QR code in a recent e-mail marketing message.

  3. John Stewart from Kony, March 10, 2011 at 4:22 p.m.

    One of the main takeaways from this report deals with mobile retail; from its growth over the last year to the potential it holds with increased mobile wallet capabilities. Overall online retail grew by 53% in 2010, but that number is even more impressive when factoring in the growth of various other categories tied to online retail – such as social networking, shopping guides, auction sites, etc. I work for Kony, and it’s clear that more and more companies are realizing the revenue potential that mobile retail offers them, and customers are utilizing the additional channel to make purchases. As more companies begin to enter this space, and technologies like NFC gain widespread adoption, the mobile retail space will continue to grow. In order to fully take advantage of these possibilities, companies need to plan how they will integrate additional categories and new technologies into their offering in order to provide consumers with a unique user experience.

  4. David Lawson from NA, March 10, 2011 at 6:42 p.m.

    Another nice breakdown Jack- thanks for this. Something I find compelling are the differences in the smartphones that people are using today and those that are currently "on boats" to the US to be sold in the 2nd half of 2011. Most of this data is based on a subscriber population that was, at best, 20-25% on smartphones and, while iOS and Android devices were high indexers, they still only made up less than half of these smart phones. The differences in UI and capability in the majority of those older smartphones vs what is available now and what will be available the remainder of the year are stark contrasts. As we move to 50% of the population being on smartphones by EOY, I'm not sure we appreciate how easy it will be for the new owners to just "do" much more, and do it more easily, than even the group that make up this data set. Implications for marketers that are ready to intelligently meet this activity and demand on the multitude of channels that are now open for business are extraordinary and upside is huge for them. Exciting!

  5. Candice Seiger from Luminosity Marketing, March 11, 2011 at 10:36 a.m.

    Mobile is also growing in the market research space. The Real-Time Lifestyle Map utilizes mobile techology to provide insights into the lives of consumers. Find out more at

    -Candice Seiger
    Luminosity Marketing

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