And it’s not just smartphones that are on the increase, with Frost & Sullivan reporting that an increasing number of Australian consumers are accessing a wide variety of digital content through a growing range of different mobile and connected devices including tablets and notebooks.
Estimates by Frost & Sullivan put current smartphone ownership amongst the entire population at 41 percent with predictions this will increase to 65 percent in 2017 – and already 68 percent of Aussies aged between 15 and 65 now own a smartphone.
“Smartphone penetration in Australia is expected to continue to increase where in two to three years time, the vast majority of Australians aged 15 to 65 will own one,” says Phil Harpur, Senior Research Manager, Australia & New Zealand.
“There has been a structural change in mobile phone user functionality. The mobile device has transitioned from a device primarily used for voice and text to a more sophisticated multi-functional device with usage patterns centred around mobile media capabilities.”
Frost & Sullivan observes that accessing the weather, using maps, personal e-mail, playing games and purchasing apps, are an intrinsic part of smartphone usage, while accessing social networking has also become commonplace amongst smartphone users along with searching for jobs, houses to rent or cars to buy.
Watching short video clips on sites like YouTube is also now a mainstream activity on smartphones, according to Frost & Sullivan, though the analyst firm also says that viewing long form content is less popular, but is becoming more common, and reading ‘snackable’ content like newspaper articles on smartphones is also now very popular.
Meanwhile, tablet ownership has also reached significant levels and the adoption rate is rapid, spurred by more manufacturers entering the market at lower price points.
Harpur says that 20 percent of Australians aged between 15 and 65 currently own a tablet and 33 percent of all Australian households have at least one member who owns a tablet. The highest level of ownership is amongst the 25-44 age group.
“Tablets are fundamentally changing user behaviour patterns with 55% of tablet owners indicating that using a tablet has significantly or moderately reduced the amount of time they surf the internet on a PC or laptop.
Tablet ownership is expected to continue to grow strongly over the next few years, increasing from 13% in 2012 to 29% in 2017,” Harpur says.
Frost & Sullivan concludes that, whilst the frequency and level at which Australians view news on smartphones and tablets still trail the traditional channels of TV and print, usage is expected to increase significantly over the next few years, and will eventually begin to challenge print as the most popular channel to access written content.