Tech and Price Hinders Mobile Web Adoption

Five percent of broadband users access the Web on mobile handsets, though 60 percent own Internet-enabled handsets. According to the report “Netpop | Pocket” released by Media Screen, the fees associated with data plans and the difficulties establishing and maintaining Internet connections hinder mobile Web adoption.

“Even though almost two-thirds of the broadband population have phones that are Internet enabled, only 5 percent of the broadband population use those phones to connect to the mobile Internet on a regular basis,” said Josh Crandall, managing director of Media Screen.

Some of the top barriers include technological and pricing issues. “I think that lowering the cost, creating an unlimited package at a lower cost for data, will spurn some interest in mobile Internet applications,” said Crandall. “But another aspect we’re seeing is that people don’t really identify with the lifestyle associated with mobile activity and mobile Internet usage.”

Handset features also slow adoption. “Some barriers aren’t a surprise,” said Crandall. “One being the size of the screen; the second is that there really are too many clicks to get to the content… and navigation through a variety of menus to access [a site].”

While broadband users perform an average of 13.4 activities on their desktop or laptop computers, the same group performs an average 3.3 online activities on a mobile device. Those activities include sending e-mail (47 percent); playing games (27 percent); reading the news (16 percent); and watching TV programs (13 percent). The study notes, “Online activities have yet to migrate into the pockets of broadband users.”

Mobile Internet adoption recalls the Internet’s initial growth. “The most popular mobile activities are communications-related — similar to the drivers during the early days of the Internet,” said a company statement.

Similarities to the Internet don’t indicate uptake, however. “We are still seeing that it’s slow to adopt, and we don’t see that there is an immediate need to adopt in the near future for many respondents,” said Crandall.

International studies on mobile Web usage show higher adoption in developing countries. The youth market also exhibits higher adoption of the mobile Internet and stronger receptivity to marketing on the channel.

Netpop is an ongoing study of broadband users in the U.S. market. It looks at diversity within the broadband population, with a special focus on attitudes and behaviors around advertising, shopping, community, entertainment, and mobile devices.

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