Report charts growing use of communication apps

Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) has released a new report from Ericsson ConsumerLab, titled Communication in the World of Apps.

The report examines how users interact with their smartphone apps and what the future may look like as technology continues to evolve. It also explores cultural variations in app usage and how multiple communicator personalities have emerged based on how people use their smartphones. The report is based on analysis of on-device measurement data. The data has been gathered from smartphone users in India, Japan, South Korea, the UK and the USA.

Although smartphones have a wide range of functions such as entertainment, games and photography, communication continues to be the dominant activity. More than 30 percent of the time spent on smartphones is spent on communicating through voice, instant messaging, voice over internet protocol (such as Skype), emails and social networking. Communication apps have a higher dependency on mobile broadband usage, due to their “always on” status.

“We found that 40-50 percent of data consumption for communication apps uses mobile broadband, whereas the corresponding figure for video is just 20 percent,” says Swetleena Swain, Senior Advisor at Ericsson ConsumerLab.

The report also demonstrates that culture and language influence communication patterns and the adoption of communication apps. Smartphone users in the UK and USA make more voice calls while the Japanese and South Koreans prefer to text message and use locally-developed communication apps.

“Typically, the US apps are designed for an English-speaking audience, so it’s not surprising that these are predominant in English-speaking countries,” says Swain.

Interest is also growing in visual apps, such as Pinterest and Instagram, which have both seen significant growth over the past twelve months. Similarly, the growing popularity of Snapchat shows that younger users have a preference for visual apps with enhanced privacy features. This also accounts for the decline in use of Facebook among younger users, who do not want their parents to view their posts.

The report also imagines future forms of communication, such as communication with wearable technology and with robots. In a study across 10 major cities, half of all smartphone users believed that smart assistants that you could talk to for advice or ask to make reservations would become mainstream within the next twelve months. It remains to be seen how significant the trend will be.

Read the Communication in the World of Apps report here.

Ericsson ConsumerLab gains its knowledge through a global consumer research program based on interviews with 100,000 individuals each year, in more than 40 countries and 15 megacities – statistically representing the views of 1.1 billion people. Both quantitative and qualitative methods are used, and hundreds of hours are spent with consumers from different cultures.

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