For companies and developers looking to strike it rich with the next killer wireless app or social networking twist, comScore's latest international mobile usage survey provides an interesting snapshot of the burgeoning mobile culture and the new business opportunities it promises.
According to the survey, Japanese smartphone users are the most connected and access the most applications on a daily basis. Europeans tend to send and receive the most text messages on their mobile devices and Americans are the most inclined to be on Facebook or sending out a tweet on Twitter.
Acknowledging these differences now in what's still the very early and nascent days of the mobile media explosion is crucial for enterprise companies developing new marketing and advertising campaigns for mobile users. It's also essential for determining what applications, devices and security tools they need to keep their workforce as efficient and secure as possible.
"Mobile media usage continues to accelerate across the globe, driven by advancing technologies and the growing number of content options available to consumers," Mark Donovan, comScore's senior vice president of mobile, said in the report. As we look across markets, dramatic differences in mobile media consumption, brand adoption and user behavior become evident."
"These differences are even more pronounced than they are for PC-based Internet usage due to the complex nature of mobile -- including various device capabilities, operating systems and methods of accessing content," he added.
In Japan, 75 percent of mobile users surveyed were firing up a browser, downloading content or accessing applications from their mobile device, making these users the most connected and prolific mobile users of the geographies surveyed. By comparison, only 43.7 percent of mobile users in the U.S. and 38.5 percent of mobile users in Europe were downloading content or access mobile apps.
Japanese users were also most likely to use their smartphones to check email (54 percent) while U.S. users led the pack in instant messaging from their mobile devices (17 percent).
The survey, which queried several hundred mobile users who were at least 13 years old in all three geographies, found that Europeans were the biggest fans of text messaging (81.7 percent) compared to 66.8 percent in the U.S. and 40.1 percent in Japan.
The data jives with other recent mobile media studies which all found that companies in countries outside the U.S. are more inclined to throw caution to the wind and embrace Web 2.0 content, apps and social media sites to grow their business and attract new customers and employees.
While more than 90 percent of companies in India, Spain and Brazil are accessing these sites and apps from their mobile devices, only between 60 percent and 70 percent of American firms are doing the same -- mainly out of concern that security breaches similar to the recent Twitter mouseover scam could compromise their data and put them at higher risk of litigation and fines from compliance shortfalls.
Still, some 21.3 percent of Americans surveyed used their smartphone to access a blog or social networking site, slightly ahead of users in Japan (17 percent) and Europe (14.7 percent). Japanese users, however, were more likely to take pictures (63 percent) and watch TV or movies on their phones (22 percent). Europeans were more likely to listen to music (24.2 percent) or play games (24.1 percent).
Facebook was the runaway leader in mobile social media sites visited in both the U.S. and Europe while the social networking site Mixi led the way in Japan. Twitter, by the way, was the only social media site that ranked in the top four in all three markets.