U.K. tops U.S. in mobile social networking

Japan leads in social networking via mobile devices among seven countries, Arbitron says.

Bill Siwicki

U.K. smartphone owners spend the most time with mobile social media out of all the smartphone panel members in seven countries in North America, Europe and Asia, according to consumer behavior measurement firm Arbitron Mobile. The firm, a subsidiary of Arbitron Inc., uses a proprietary, on-device software meter to provide marketers and others with information on how mobile consumers use apps, surf the web, engage in social media, participate in e-commerce, and use their devices to communicate.

86% of the 5,169 U.K. smartphone panel members routinely use social media on their mobile devices, Arbitron Mobile finds. These mobile users posted, tweeted and updated their status across more than a dozen top social media apps for an average of 10 hours and 56 minutes in the month of January. These panelists also socialized on the mobile web an additional two hours and 43 minutes in January.

In the U.S. and Europe, a nearly equivalent share of smartphone panelists—between 80-85%--use both dedicated apps and mobile web browsers to go social with their mobile devices, Arbitron Mobile says. The biggest differentiator among mobile social networkers in the U.S. and European smartphone panels is the time spent with social media on mobile devices. U.S. social networkers, based on a panel of 12,323 smartphone owners, are behind their British counterparts by almost two hours in the month for social app usage and more than a half hour for social web access, Arbitron Mobile says.

German and French smartphone panelists, 3,100 and 5,739, respectively, lag behind the English-speaking social networkers, spending the least amount of time with social media apps and mobile web sites among the U.S. and European panelists, Arbitron Mobile finds. Germans spent five hours and 48 minutes in social mobile apps and just under two hours socializing via the mobile web. The French spent five hours and 49 minutes in social mobile apps and one hour and 23 minutes socializing via the mobile web.

The three Asian panels exhibited the most divergent mobile social media behavior. Indonesian panelists (1,874 in total) led their counterparts across all seven countries in terms of percentage of smartphone participants—88.6%—who access social media via mobile apps, Arbitron Mobile finds. Japan (2,466 panelists) led all six other countries in terms of the percentage of panelists who accessed social media via the web—89.4%. Among China panelists (18,288 in total), social networking was the least widely embraced and mobile social media users show the widest divide between apps and browsers for access to social media, 68% versus 24%, respectively.

Facebook and Twitter are the dominant players in mobile social media in six of the seven countries, China excluded. In the U.S., 73.0% of panelists accessed Facebook’s mobile app while 18.6% accessed Twitter’s mobile app in January, Arbitron Mobile finds.

The leading social media app used by Chinese smartphone owners in the mobile panel is Sina Weibo, a microblogging service, Arbitron Mobile says. QZone, the social media offshoot of the QQ instant messaging service, is the No. 2 social media app among China panelists. 40.9% of China panelists accessed Sina Weibo’s mobile app and 31.5% accessed QZone’s mobile app.
Following are the countries, percent of smartphone owners who accessed the Facebook mobile app, and percent of smartphone owners who accessed the Twitter mobile app in January:


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