Mobile phone penetration increased 8 percent from 53 to 61 percent in the third quarter, according to the results. Mobile, in general, is often thought of as a youth medium, but its highest penetration actually occurs in the 35-49 age group, where 7 out of 10 people have a mobile phone. Usage and income are also intertwined: 83 percent of those earning $75K or higher regularly use a mobile phone versus 38 percent among those who earn less than $20,000 per year.
Despite this, most mobile marketing initiatives are geared towards younger demographic segments. For example, on the strength of several interactive text messaging initiatives by major media companies, text messaging, received a quarter-over-quarter boost. Three percent of mobile phone owning adults have sent text messages to a TV show-more than double the tally from last quarter-and two percent of adults have sent text messages to a radio station, also more than double the second quarter figure.
In other key findings, Java and BREW mobile game downloads grew a whopping 75 percent quarter over quarter, from 4.4 million downloads in the second quarter to 7.7 million downloads in the third quarter. Mobile game downloads doubled quarter over quarter among 18-25 year old phone owners: in the second quarter, 11 percent of 18-25 phone owners were downloading games versus the third quarter, in which 22 percent downloaded games. For advertisers looking to penetrate this fast growing mobile segment, advergaming is a viable consideration point.
Other areas of significant mobile growth include graphics, and monophonic and polyphonic ringtones. Eleven million active adults downloaded wallpaper, icons, logos, and other graphics in the third quarter-a 57 percent increase over the second quarter. The number of people downloading monophonic ringtones reached 18.6 million adults, a 32 percent quarter over quarter increase. Polyphonic ringtones increased 28 percent to 11 million adults.
"As the demand for content on mobile phones increases, it presents a huge opportunity for brands to connect with their customers anywhere they are on this truly personal device," Enpocket CEO Jonathon Linner stated. "The Mobile Media Monitor offers invaluable insight into the evolving mobile marketing and behavioral space, allowing marketers and carriers to deliver more valuable content to consumers."
If figures from the rest of the world are anything to go by, the U.S. mobile market should brace itself for continued growth and innovation. According to research firm Strategy Analytics, worldwide revenues from mobile data services will hit $61 billion in 2004, and reach $189 billion in 2009. The firm said that Text messaging will provide the largest source of revenue, accounting for 46 percent of mobile revenues in 2009, while mobile entertainment-ringtones, games, and music/media, will comprise 28 percent. Marketing figures were not gleaned from the report.
According to Boston-based research firm the Yankee Group, the U.S. mobile market will reach $2.8 billion for 2004, and $14.5 billion for 2008. However, these numbers do not indicate what percentage of the overall spend will belong to mobile marketing.
"Mobile marketing is an awfully tricky area," warned Yankee Group Analyst Roger Entner. "Mobile advertisements are viewed by a lot of people like spam- even where permission has been established," he said.
The latest installment of the Mobile Media Monitor (US) survey was based on 1,000 telephone interviews conducted by NOP World for Enpocket Insight in late July 2004, and relates to the period May 2004 to July 2004. The base was representative of US mobile phone usage.