Mobile phone usage report 2011: The things you do

GSMArena team, 02 May 2011.

Tags: Misc

Most used daily

We start with the most important features, i.e. the ones that are used most frequently by most users. And the winner here… couldn’t have been more obvious… is voice calls.

What came as a slight surprise however is the actual percentage – we expected results more in 95%+ range, so much so that we even considered leaving it out of the poll. Glad we didn’t, because we now see that not everyone use their phone as a phone. And in some user groups, the voice calls are even less popular – less than 65% of the teenagers talk daily on their phones.

In fact, voice calls only rank sixth in popularity in that group and it also loses its top spot among users aged 18 to 24 (though the feature retains a respectable 83% of daily usage there).



In terms of location, voice calls are most popular in Africa (89.5%) and least popular in Oceania (5th place at 77.6%).

The second most used feature worldwide was a bit of a surprise to us – with 83% it is alarm clock that snatches the silver. The feature even tops the chart for several user groups – women (81.3%), ages 18-24 years (83.5%) and South Americans (86.5%). It loses some ground with the users older than 41, but its popularity is consistently above 60%.

Sending texts might be in decline, but it still retains third position in daily usage. Its overall share is 78.7% and it even gets the number one place in Oceania with 87.7%.

SMS is also enjoying higher than average popularity with Asians (83.8%), where it’s just a tenth of a percent behind alarm clock usage. Surprisingly, only 75.8% of teenagers send SMS daily, which is less than average. Which is not to say that teenagers are no longer responsible for most of the SMS traffic. One possible answer here is that some teens are already switching to instant messaging – our data shows that one third of them are already using this feature daily.

Web browsing only loses a place on the podium by a whisker, which actually tells us how popular handheld browsing is (a mobile version of our site is in the works). 78.6% of the users open their mobile browsers daily. The champions in mobile web browsing category are Oceania (83.3%) and North America (80.9%) with browsing the second most used feature there.

This feature is less often used by women (70%) and users over 50 (63%).



Essential features

The chart we’re about to look at shows the features that are used by the largest number of people. Although not necessarily needed daily, they are the most likely must-haves for users shopping for their next handset.

The obvious leader again is voice calls: 99.5% of you make calls at least ones every few weeks. In Oceania the feature which gave cell phones a reason to exist scores a perfect 100%, while the US gets pretty close with 99.9%.

In terms of overall use, SMS moves up to second place with 99.2%. And it’s another perfect score here from Oceania.

Taking photos is every bit as important as we expected – it grabs the third spot here with 98.5%. It means that less than one in 66 users never use the camera at the back of their cell phone. And half of those have answered that they would use that feature if they could, which suggests that their handsets don’t have a (decent) camera at all.



The two features that only just failed to make in to the medals are calculator (98.4%) and alarm clock (97.8%), while web browsing to sixth with the very respectable 96.2%.

At the other end of the spectrum is video calling, which is only used by 26.6% of all users. Only 2.3% of you make video-calls on a daily basis.

Audio books (33.5% total and 3.8% daily) and podcasts (33.8% and 3.7% daily) are not too popular either but they are still head and neck above video-calls. Streaming content over DLNA or TV-out only just avoided relegation with 34.1% users doing it at all and only 3.9% needing it daily.



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