Mobile web usage nearly equal PC web in Japan

~ 20 September 2007 ~

This is crazy news, but not surprising. According to a new study by comScore, “Mobile Phone Web Users Nearly Equal PC Based Internet Users in Japan”:

… an estimated 53.6 million people are using a mobile device to access the Internet [in Japan], a figure nearly equaling the 53.7 million who accessed the Internet from either a home or a work computer in June 2007.

Email is the most popular activity, followed by accessing news & information and search queries. Blogs ranked fifth.

However, user experience satisfaction holds these figures in check:

Despite these significant usage figures, consumer satisfaction remains low. Only 12.6 percent of respondents accessing the Internet via a mobile device stated that they were either “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied”, with 52.1 percent stating that they were either “very dissatisfied” or “somewhat dissatisfied”.

You know that means, people. We need better mobile web experiences. End of story.



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1   Barbara Ballard ~ 20 September 2007

And one more thing about that study …

PC use = 18.9 hours per month
Mobile use = 8.1 hours per month

This strongly suggests wildly different usage patterns given the “advanced” state of the market.

2   Kyle Barrow ~ 20 September 2007

The difference in usage reflects the more task orientated nature of mobile web usage.

I also think the statistics underestimate mobile usage by young Japanese as many are using mobiles under family plans with a parent as sole subscriber.

It’s not surprising user satisfaction remain low as while we are getting every more advanced mobiles - my latest Softbank mobile has digital TV, GPS navigation, mobile wallet and all the other bells and whistles - the Japanese mobile web hasn’t really advanced since Flash Lite was introduced: Japanese mobiles have weak CSS and little to no scripting support making it a challenge for developers to deliver more compelling mobile content.

3   ML ~ 21 September 2007

Funny thing, a friend of mine came back from Japan a couple months ago and mentioned this exact same thing. That cell phones and interaction with the internet on mobile devices was huge there.

It’s also not surprising that over 50% of them were dissatisfied. But I think that stat doesn’t truly speak about their dissatisfaction of “mobile design” of these web experiences but more so to the dissatisfaction of their experiences in general (slow connections, small screens sizes, poor browsing controls on their phone, the hit on battery life etc.). I have no proof, but just a gut feeling. Because the average web user today doesn’t really complain about their web experience so much than they complain about their internet connection speed and different issues with their internet service providers.

4   Cameron Moll ~ 21 September 2007

…and hardware/devices. Agreed. I specifically said better experiences and not just better interfaces, as satisfaction is a sum of the entire experience — UI, hardware, carrier, and so forth.

5   giL ~ 23 September 2007

Thanks for the interesting post Cameron. According to Tomi Ahonen (the author of five books on mobile and convergence with the latest being Digital Korea and a very cool person) there are 3 Billion mobile phones worldwide.

For contrast there are 1.5 B credit card owners, 1.4 B TV sets, 1.3 B fixed landline phones, 1.2 B internet users, about 900 million PCs and - check this - about 800 million automobiles… I was so amazed when I read this I had to read it again twice to make sure I get things right.

So, I think it makes sense to say its really really just a matter of (very little) time before all those things will be foxed and all of us will soon become walking Internet nodes LOL!!!

Read Tomi Ahonen’s comment on my post

6   corrie.m ~ 24 September 2007

Simple, they need iPhone! Maybe Flash based application on iPhone or other mobile device.


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