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Australia has second highest global smartphone usage, study shows

A study to be released today has found that Australia has the second-highest smartphone usage by population density in the world, ahead of the US, the UK, and Japan, and second only to the city/state of Singapore.

The study was carried out by IPSOS Research on behalf of Google and showed that the use of the internet via a smartphone is most common at home, with a third of respondents used their phone in conjunction with another internet-enabled device. Of smartphone owners surveyed, 81% reported that they’d used their mobile device at home, as opposed to 66% ‘on the go’.

Two in five Australian smartphone owners use their device for search daily, which exceeds the equivalent usage in the UK and Germany. Significantly for small businesses, 49% of smartphone owners have used their device to research and then call stores, with 45% using their devices to find a shopfront location.

“We’re seeing about one in five (19%) people that intentionally have their smartphone with them to compare prices store to store,” said Hayward. “We see about that same number (17%) saying they’ve actually changed their mind about buying something while they were in the store as a result of gathering smartphone information.”

The research found that one in three smartphone searches were for local businesses.

“Somewhere between two in five and one in two people are doing a local search weekly, and one in five doing it every day,” said Ryan Hayward, APAC mobile product marketing manager for Google. “This is quite high in Australia. If you look at the top actions people are doing as a result, people are calling businesses, visiting their websites. We’ve found that one in three has made a web-based purchase form a business as a result of doing a local search.”

The most common type of purchase in Australia was entertainment items, followed by clothing, cosmetics, and electronics.

“Entertainment items are quite high up across the board,” said Hayward. “In developing countries, clothing and apparel, beauty and cosmetics, and electronics are not at the top. It’s more fundamental

like transportation.”

The survey found that 80% of Australian businesses didn’t have mobile-optimized websites and that many businesses confused having an app as sufficient to have a mobile strategy. Hayward identified a lack of website optimization and appropriate payment systems for mobile devices as the primary barriers to the uptake of mobile purchases in Australia. With respect to mobile advertising, 60% of respondents said they had noticed mobile advertisements, either in mobile search results or in apps, implying a need for mobile site optimization among Australian businesses.

“People can’t buy from you if they can’t navigate your website. And not having to enter all of your credit card information into a form that’s difficult to do so,” said Hayward. “As one-click shopping evolves, like we have on our desktops, and as people become more used to it, then this number’s going to increase.”

One in five respondents had searched for a house or apartment on their smartphone, a figure which is 33% than in the US or the UK. Mobile banking was also particularly popular among Australian smartphone users in comparison to the rest of the world.

“Forty-eight percent of people said they’ve done mobile banking, which is very very high compared to global standards – 65% more likely than UK smartphone users, and 14% more likely than US smartphone users,” said Hayward.

The fact that 80% of Australians surveyed were first-time smartphone owners suggests these are relatively new developments. One in three Australian respondents had purchased their current phone only in the 6 months leading up to the survey.

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