Google: 1 Billion People Will Use Mobile As Primary Internet Access Point In 2012

Former AdMob executive Jason Spero, who is now Google’s head of mobile sales, took the stage earlier today at the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona to offer up some new, global smartphone user survey data and 2012 predictions. The Google-sponsored survey had a sample size of roughly 1,000 respondents in each of the represented countries: US, UK, France, Germany, Spain and Japan.

The data reflect that mobile search usage has nearly 100 percent penetration among smartphone owners, most of whom search at least once a week. Though it’s not made clear in the data released I assume this is browser-based search and does not include search via mobile apps. Google’s browser-based mobile-search share is 97 percent globally, according to StatCounter.

Mobile app usage is also prevalent according to the survey results. Japanese users have the most apps installed (42), while US smartphone owners have an average of 26 apps on their handsets. However in terms of regular usage, Google found that in the US smartphone owners used an average of 11 apps during the past month.

Google also found that smartphone owners were heavy video consumers and social networking users. However the most powerful data in my view reflects how consumers are using smartphones to help make purchase decisions mostly offline.

Google found that 92 percent of smartphone owners in the US seek local (offline) information via their devices, and that 89 percent of those people took some form of action after such a lookup. Beyond this Google said that 25 percent of people in the US made a purchase after a local lookup. In addition, in the US, 51 percent called a business and 48 percent actually went to the business location.

Google also discovered that 63 percent of US smartphone owners made purchases on their smartphones at least monthly, with 20 percent saying they made daily purchases. The study also illustrated consumers’ increasing reliance on smartphones as research tools that influence buying behavior in stores and online.

You can find lots more of the data from the above study here. In addition Google’s Spero offered mobile predictions for 2012:

  1. More than 1 billion people will use mobile devices as their primary internet access point.
  2. There will be 10 days where >50% of trending search terms will be on mobile
  3. Mobile’s role in driving people into stores will be proven and it will blow us away
  4. “Mobile driven spend” will emerge as a big category
  5. Smartphones will prove exceptional at driving a new consumer behavior
  6. Tablets will take their place as the 4th screen
  7. New industry standards will make mobile display easy to run
  8. 5 new, mobile first companies will reach the Angry Birds level of success
  9. The ROI on mobile and tablet advertising will increase as a result of the unmatched relevance of proximity
  10. The intersection of mobile and social will spark a dramatic new form of engaging consumers
  11. 80% of the largest 2,000 websites globally will have an HTML5 site
  12. One million small businesses globally will build a mobile website

For comparison, here are my prior mobile predictions for 2012.

Related Topics: Channel: Mobile | Google: Mobile | Google: Web Search | Stats: General | Stats: Search Behavior | Top News


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • Tim Cohn

    “The ROI on mobile and tablet advertising will increase as a result of the unmatched relevance of proximity” – For search or display?

  • Greg Sterling

    If I have to pick one: search

  • Lauren Singletary

    Tim, I imagine that the ROI for search will increase. Search marketing being a form of direct response marketing lends itself incredibly well to people on the go who are actively searching for a solution. Mobile platforms will have a much bigger impact on search advertising than display display advertising.

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