Mobile Internet in Russia and the World: Platforms, Consumption, Trends



    We bring to your attention a summary of three reports presented at a press conference organized by Mail.Ru Group in conjunction with Nielsen.

    Speech by Matthew Hester, Director of Consumer Research, Nielsen Telecom Group in Europe


    Today I would like to present to you the results of our research on the use of mobile Internet and the development of smartphones in general.

    In recent years, we have experienced two peculiar revolutions: first, the massive spread of mobile devices, and soon a large increase in mobile Internet bandwidth and gadget performance. As a result, mobile technologies have fundamentally changed our ways of communicating and consuming information. A characteristic illustration of these changes is a comparison of a modern concert and a concert, say, of the 90s.

    Previously, people came to concerts to listen to live music and chat with each other, today people try to record a performance and share with others on the network.

    Today, active users of mobile technologies are characterized by the following features:

    • Broken attention . In the United States, about 80% of consumers use a tablet while watching TV.
    • Life on social networks . In the UK, 35% of smartphone owners have visited Facebook in the last 30 days.
    • Efficiency of use . In the US, about 25% of smartphone owners scan barcodes to save time.
    • Disunity . Modern consumers often own multiple devices. We receive information from various sources, for example 20% of Youtube views are carried out through a smartphone.
    • Use of smart technologies . About 20% of smartphone owners in China use mobile wallets and other similar services at least once a month.
    • Use of geolocation . In Germany, about 33% of smartphone owners use geolocation services at least once in a month.

    I also want to illustrate a number of characteristic trends on the example of owners of Android smartphones from the UK:
    • On average, a smartphone is used for 83.5 minutes per day (of which about 24.3 minutes are spent communicating on social networks).
    • Less than 7 minutes a day are spent on phone calls. SMS + calls are only 14% of the total time.
    • 73% of the time is spent working with various applications, 11% - using a browser.

    Communication in social networks, the development of all kinds of mobile services and the growth of smartphone capabilities require an increasing increase in mobile traffic:




    The current dynamics and forecast of traffic growth for the coming years require significant investments from mobile operators in infrastructure development and capacity expansion. An important clarification - the lion's share of mobile traffic passes through Wi-Fi. Another illustration on the example of users from the UK (Android smartphones):



    As you can see, the peak of the use of 3G traffic falls in the evening when people return from work. However, the peak of Wi-Fi traffic occurs at midnight, when the British get to their home routers.

    Despite the victorious march of smartphones around the world, their distribution across countries varies greatly.



    The total population of the three selected countries, in which the share of smartphones is still small, is 2 billion people, so the potential market size is very large.

    With the increasing availability of smartphones, many users can afford to have multiple mobile devices. What are these people using them for? This question can be answered using the example of Italy. Penetration of laptops remains significant, but its growth has slowed, while smartphone penetration has doubled, and tablet penetration has tripled.



    Despite the fact that laptops in general are still the dominant class of mobile devices in Italy, already 25% of tablet owners use their device for online shopping (compared to 8% for laptops).

    In general, the distribution of user preferences greatly complicates the process of marketing promotion. Previously, the buyer’s decision to purchase equipment looked something like this:



    A potential buyer could be influenced through three channels: print media, TV and radio. It was also possible to stimulate impulsive demand through stocks in stores. Today, the process is very complicated:



    Now the consumer is affected by a huge number of media channels. Of great importance in the decision-making process are social networks in which we can find reviews about products and learn more about their characteristics. Having already arrived at the store, a potential buyer can receive new information or feedback using a mobile phone, which can also be a decisive moment in making the final decision. For example, in Germany, 24% of smartphone users scan bar codes in a store, while in the UK, 18% compare online prices.

    Since consumers are increasingly using smartphones to obtain additional information, this can be used to attract customers, that is, as an additional marketing channel. In the United States, of the total time that users spend on various media, 12% falls on phones, while mobile advertising accounts for only a small percentage of the total advertising budget. Television accounts for 42% of the time, the Internet - 26%. Thus, the mobile advertising market has great growth potential. For this, mobile operators must form and maintain a loyal customer base.

    In many European countries, when buying a new phone, many users also change their mobile operator. One of the reasons for this phenomenon is the saturation of the market and the pickiness of users when choosing tariffs.



    To retain consumers, operators need to adapt to changing demand and redistribute their efforts to growing areas.

    These were all the main trends that I wanted to talk about today. As new directions in the development of mobile technologies, I see the development of access to gadgets through car interfaces, the expansion of geolocation services, the widespread adoption of smart home technologies, as well as the expansion of the range of gadgets using mobile technologies.



    Speech by Alexander Gorny, Director of Information Technology, Mail.Ru Group


    I would like to devote my speeches to the mobile Internet in Russia. In the first part I will talk about ordinary users, and in the second part I will present the point of view of web specialists about mobile Internet.

    Part 1

    We build our vision of mobile Internet users on the basis of the data of the Mail.Ru Rating service . This is a statistics collection system that collects information about the behavior of visitors to a resource. The rating of Mail.Ru is more than 850 thousand counters on websites (more than 1% of all services in the world), more than 80 million visitors per day and more than 2 billion views per day.





    Today, almost 30% of Runet visitors are mobile users. Let's see how the "traditional" (stationary) users and mobiles differ among themselves.





    Mobile users are generally younger, because the older generation has a harder time mastering gadgets and adapting to change. However, this suggests that in the future the proportion of older people will increase due to today's youth, familiar to mobile devices. In addition, older people, although slower, still learn new technologies. So striking age differentiation is no longer observed.

    During the day, the activity of mobile and stationary users varies:



    Despite the possibility of using business computers during the working day, the activity of mobile users is also high. That is, people actively access the Internet from phones and tablets also at work, and during lessons and lectures. In the evening and at night, the ratio changes in favor of mobile devices, but the gap is also insignificant.

    So far, mobile users spend significantly less time on the mobile web. This is due to the cost of traffic, cellular coverage, device uptime and other reasons. But this difference is gradually smoothed out.



    Also, there are changes in the activity of both user segments depending on the day of the week, but these fluctuations are insignificant.



    Below is the division of users depending on the region of Russia.



    In those regions where the wired infrastructure is worst developed, the proportion of mobile users is higher than the national average. The smallest number of mobile users is observed in regions with moderate incomes and fairly developed wired infrastructure.

    What do people mostly do on the mobile Internet? Of course, the highest activity falls on the work with various applications. If we talk about the most visited sites, then the first places are occupied by social networks, mail, news resources and online publications.



    The most popular mobile platform in Russia is Android. Good news for webmasters: the proportion of older devices has dropped significantly. The most popular screen resolution was the resolution of the iPad.



    So, a little summary. The portrait of a typical modern mobile Internet user in Russia is as follows: he is a young man who spends more time on the Internet in the evening and on weekends. It uses an Android device, but with a screen resolution typical of the iPad.



    Part 2

    We conducted a survey among ordinary webmasters, users of the Mail.Ru Rating service. These are not elite specialists, but representatives of the most mass segment, the so-called “salt of the earth”. The purpose of the survey was to find out the opinion of webmasters about the Russian mobile Internet. It turned out that most sites do not have a mobile version. Moreover, many do not plan to create it.



    The gap is not too pleasant: about 30% of users already use mobile devices to access the Internet, but 28% of webmasters do not care at all. There are objective reasons for this. One of them is the lack of mobile traffic on a particular site, as a result, the webmaster has no incentive to create a mobile version. However, this approach has a flip side: mobile traffic may be absent just because of the lack of a mobile version of the site, that is, visitors simply go to more friendly resources.



    I want to emphasize once again an important idea: mobile traffic already has a large volume. Therefore, it is advisable to attend to the creation of adapted versions of sites so as not to lose a significant share of the audience in the near future. The resources most demanded by mobile users today are as follows:



    There are no online stores on this list yet, but this is a matter of time.

    Among those sites that have already acquired a mobile version, there are some kind of advanced developers whose functionality of the regular version is even worse.



    Returning to the question that many webmasters do not care about the lack of a mobile version of the site: how do they see the behavior of mobile users on their non-adapted resources?



    I think the real picture will be slightly different: the first and last behavior will be much more common.

    Today, the mobile Internet in Russia is experiencing a turning point: on the one hand, the traffic is already very high, but on the other, many web experts still underestimate mobile users. Of course, in the end they will inevitably come to the need to adapt their resources, and this will become another driver of the growth of mobile Internet.

    Speech by Ekaterina Petrova, Head of Nielsen Telecommunications Practice in Northeast Europe


    I would like to tell you about a study we conducted together with OMI (Online Market Intelligence). We interviewed 500 smartphone users who purchased their devices over the past year. We were interested in how Russians use smartphones. And here is what we managed to find out.

    On average, our respondents own 4 more devices, and are going to buy 2 more. These can be laptops, desktop computers, mp3 players, communicators, game consoles.



    On the one hand, this is good news for electronics manufacturers. However, modern smartphones are already able to replace the vast majority of these devices. Therefore, for our part, we would recommend that smartphone manufacturers pay more attention to user training and focus on the versatility of their products.

    So, why do smartphone users use their devices? It turned out that 90% of those polled send sms at least once a week. Moreover, women do this much more often than men. Thus, sending SMS today is the most popular type of smartphone use.

    Next in popularity are emails and various instant messengers. Men are already leading here, 18% of women do not use mail via smartphones at all, and 28% do not use instant messengers.



    Smartphone users do not spend much time on web surfing, although 91% of those surveyed use the browser at least once a week to access the Internet. On average, the browser usage frequency is 1 time per day.



    Matthew Hester has already mentioned that Wi-Fi dominates as a means of delivering mobile Internet, and our study confirms this. However, mobile Internet has great potential. Operators need to develop the availability of mobile Internet and its speed. After home use, the most popular places for using mobile Internet are public and private transportation, as well as public places such as cafes, restaurants, and shopping centers. This is useful information for mobile operators who can use it to promote tariff plans that could attract users to use mobile traffic instead of Wi-Fi.



    On the main desktop of the smartphone on average there are about 18 applications: games, entertainment, social networks, geolocation services, weather and a number of others. Per month, smartphone users download an average of 4 new applications, which is quite a lot.

    The number of downloaded applications is distributed as follows: approximately 30% of applications are entertainment and functional, 11% are social networks. However, it is also important to pay attention to frequency, and here the importance of social networks increases.



    Despite the much smaller number of downloaded applications for social networks, the duration and frequency of their use is significantly higher. On average, smartphone owners launch applications for social networks twice a day, and in the age group 16-24, about 60% of users use social networks 3 or more times a day. As you can see, this is a very powerful channel of influence for business and the formation of opinions of various interested participants. For example, most of our respondents indicated that they will make decisions on the purchase of high-tech goods, on leisure and holidays based on opinions posted on social networks. Also 47% of respondents said that they began to use voice communication less.



    On average, smartphone owners rated their satisfaction with their devices at 8 points out of 10. Among those who bought a smartphone over the past three months, this rating was even higher - 9 points. The four most attractive features of smartphones were design, a large selection of applications, ease of sending messages and navigation.



    However, despite such a high degree of satisfaction with their devices, 29% of respondents expressed their willingness to purchase a new smartphone in the next three months. Moreover, among men, this figure was 33%. The most important sources of information when choosing a new smartphone were reviews and reviews on the Internet, manufacturers' websites, information in online stores and reviews of relatives and friends.



    An example of how a modern consumer searches the Internet for information on choosing a smartphone was provided by our partner OMI: He



    is a married man of 34 years, in each brand he chooses among several smartphone models. To collect information and analysis, he actively uses several specialized resources and compares prices and assortment in several online stores.

    Another important result of our study was the information that smartphone users did not watch TV less, however, while watching TV, they simultaneously use their other devices. According to the results of our other study, the overall level of confidence in television is about 42%, so this information channel should also not be forgotten, especially in attracting potential buyers who do not already have smartphones.

    In conclusion, I would like to make a small comparison of smartphone users who decide to buy a new device and those who still doubt it. Those who decided to buy a new smartphone are the most advanced audience in terms of the number of applications used, activity in the use of the Internet, social networks and various gadgets. Thus, to attract this audience, it is necessary to increase the availability and usability of social networks and other network entertainment.

    Those who have not yet decided to change their smartphone are less actively using their devices, often limiting themselves to the simplest functions. These people often use Wi-Fi, rather than 3G, and for the most part only download free applications. Therefore, to attract this group of consumers, it is necessary to focus on fashion, style, relevance, popularity, free of charge some programs, ease of use.



    Summing up the brief result of our press conference, the following trends can be noted: mobile Internet both in the world and in Russia, is not only growing rapidly, but already makes up a significant share of the total traffic. Moreover, in the coming years, although the growth rate will decrease, it will remain at a significant level. In most countries, a multiple growth of the mobile advertising market is expected, and in a number of countries sales of mobile devices, in particular smartphones, will also grow. To date, the mobile audience does not have any pronounced gender component. Also, recently the age structure of mobile Internet consumers has been significantly smoothed out due to the involvement of a large number of elderly people. The most popular tasks on the mobile Internet are communication on social networks and all kinds of entertainment resources.

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