UK iPhone users lead way in Web, email use: survey

LONDON (Reuters) - Over 90 percent of Apple Inc’s British iPhone users accessed mobile media in January including websites, e-mails, social networks and games, far higher than users of other mobile phones, research showed.

An Apple iPhone is displayed at the Apple store in central London, September 18, 2007. REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico

Market researcher comScore said on Thursday 79.7 percent of iPhone users accessed news and information in the three-month period ending January, compared with 48 percent of other smartphone users and 19.8 percent of all mobile users.

Apple’s sleek phone only makes up a tiny percentage of mobiles sold in Britain, but analysts believe its easy access to music and the Web is driving the mobile Internet capabilities of all phones and shaping the industry.

The move to mobile Internet is also key to the industry’s health as the price of calls and sales of handsets drop in the recession. Access to Web pages also increases the scope for mobile advertising and increases time spent on the phone.

Some 75.4 percent of iPhone users accessed emails, compared with 35.4 percent of other smartphone users and 13.1 percent of all other mobile phone users, comScore said.

Nearly 66 percent of iPhone users also listened to music, a growing revenue stream for mobile groups, compared with 40.5 percent of smartphone users and 22.6 percent of all phone users.

In total, 93 percent of users accessed mobile media.

“Consumers are clearly embracing the iPhone’s touch screen keyboard,” said Alistair Hill, an analyst at comScore. “The penetration of email usage on the iPhone is more than double that of the smartphone category as a whole.”

According to the survey, Apple’s App store has also proved highly popular, as it allows users to download programs such as games, ringtones, video and text alerts, either for free or for a fee.

Apple said this month customers had so far downloaded 800 million iPhone applications from its store, which offers 25,000 of the small software programs.

Almost 56 percent accessed news or information after downloading an application.

According to comScore, 75 percent of iPhone users are male, mostly between the ages of 18 to 44, which is also a key demographic for advertisers.

“While the device’s ease of use is certainly contributing to the lift we see in mobile media consumption, the fact that the device requires a subscription package that includes an unlimited data plan is also a contributing factor,” said Hill.

More than 1 million iPhones have been sold in Britain.

Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by David Holmes