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Study explores Internet consumers' new mobile device use

According to a recent worldwide survey of mobile device use, 36% of global consumers said that they now own a smartphone; that’s a 15% increase since 2010. Also according to the survey, 9% of respondents will “definitely” purchase a smartphone within the next year, and 12% will “probably” purchase a smartphone in 2012 — meaning that a whopping 57% of global consumers potentially will own a smartphone within the next year.

Since 2010, there has been a marked growth in online and mobile technologies. According to the survey, 74% of respondents reported watching videos on the Internet, and 56% of consumers said they watch videos on their mobile phones at least once a month. With more users watching video on computers, online or on mobile phones, home television use dropped 7% between 2010 and 2011.

The Nielsen Co.’s Global Online Consumers and Multi-Screen Media report surveyed more than 28,000 Internet consumers in 56 countries to analyze their multi-screen media use, device ownership and purchasing intentions, as well as to gauge how they see mobile technology’s role in the future.

Using smartphones to make purchases in stores instead of cash, cards or checks also has the potential for market share. About 11% of the consumers Nielsen surveyed said they “definitely” would use their smartphones to make payments in shops and restaurants if the option was available, and 24% said that they “probably” would.

“The impact of mobile technology can be felt around the globe and touches all aspects of life, from entertainment and shopping to business and personal communication,” said Amilcar Pérez, president of telecommunications for Nielsen.

Because of the increasing popularity of smartphones and new trends in mobile device use, are tablets next? As of 2012, 31% of global consumers either own or reported they were planning to purchase a tablet device within the next year. In the United States, a similar survey among owners of tablets and digital readers has followed the same pattern, increasing from 18% in December 2010 to 29% in January 2012.

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