Mobile Web Usage Higher in China Than U.S.

A larger percentage of people in China own Web-enabled phones than in the United States and they are also more likely to use them to access the Web. The mobile Web characteristics in both countries are reviewed in Netpop | Pocket: “Growing the Mobile Marketplace.”

Here are some of the study’s findings:

  • Of 57 million people with Web-enabled mobile phones in the U.S., 18 million — or about 31 percent — use the devices to connect to the Web.
  • Of 182 million people with Web-enabled mobile phones in China, 102 million — or 56 percent — use the devices to connect to the Web.

In China, people spend a bigger share of their monthly income — about 2 to 3 percent — for their voice and data plans, while in the United States that tally is about 1 percent of monthly income, according to according to Josh Crandall, president of Netpop Research. “It is a surprise because many more people in a higher proportion of the total population are still accessing mobile in China than in the U.S. In fact, extra fees are considered even more of a barrier in the U.S. than they are in China,” he said.

However, fees for premium content tend to be lower in China. A song typically costs a dollar in the U.S., but might cost a quarter in China.

Finding new content — especially games and news — plays an important role on mobile. “Discovery of Web service is occurring more frequently now through mobile devices, and continues to grow,” said Crandall, defining Web services as content. “And in China more than 10 percent of the population is actually discovering many Web services through the phone first and then migrating to the PC, and we’re starting to see this in the U.S.”

Once people find a particular service or site first on their phone, they later look for it when they get to their computer.

While consumers may visit a brand or site on both the Web and mobile Web, a unique experience is necessary for each destination, advises Netpop. “It’s more important to do so now more than ever, and provide them [mobile users] with that experience that is tailored to that device, because it might be their first experience to the brand,” Crandall said. “Then bring them back to the PC, through the consistent login experience, a consistent branding experience, offering more marketing abilities through the computer, because the computer may offer more marketing real estate than the mobile device.”

Findings from the research are based on an online survey of 4,384 broadband users in the U.S. and 4,269 broadband users in China age 13 and older. The survey is fielded to respondents who are members of research panels using a proprietary sampling methodology to represent the Internet population in each target country.

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