BBC World News global study sees surge in smartphone use for consuming news

The rapidly growing importance of mobile to our global audiences is one of the big themes for our industry and we are constantly working to create the best mobile browsing experience, be that with the introduction of our international BBC News and Sports apps, or on-going responsive design innovations."Jim Egan, CEO, BBC Global News Limited
Date: 20.02.2014     Last updated: 18.03.2014 at 17.53
Category: BBC World News

World’s first study into use of mobile by affluent consumers reveals:

  • 15 per cent yearly increase in the amount of people who would prefer to use a phone to read the news, against a 17 per cent decline for desktop computers
  • 39 per cent access the internet on their phones at least once every hour
  • Mobile advertising four times more effective than desktop

BBC World News and BBC.com/news have today released the results of the world’s first global study into the usage of mobile devices by affluent consumers. When asked which single device they prefer to use for news, the number of affluent consumers who name the mobile phone has risen by 15 per cent since 2012 and tablet is up by 9 per cent. In contrast, the amount of people who say they prefer desktop has decreased by 17 per cent.

The study surveyed 6,000 smartphone owners in Australia, Germany, Sweden, India, Hong Kong and the US. It compared the habits of affluent consumers - the highest 20 per cent income earners in each country - to those of the general population. Additional key findings include:

  • 51 per cent of affluent consumers use their mobile phone for business, compared to 40 per cent of the general population.
  • Affluent consumers are 18 per cent more likely to share their location to get relevant services than the general population.
  • News apps are the most commonly used mobile phone apps for affluent consumers, whilst social network apps are favoured by the general population.
  • A third of affluent consumers agree that, if a brand wants to be modern and dynamic, it needs to be on mobile – 15 per cent higher than the general population.
  • Mobile advertising is twice as effective as the proven desktop in driving key brand metrics such as awareness, favourability and purchase intent amongst the total population. This figure rises to four times as effective for affluent consumers.
  • High-income earners are as positive towards advertising on mobile (19 per cent) as desktop (18 per cent). The percentage who are happy to see ads on mobile websites rises to 41 per cent for sites where the content is free.

The results reveal the increasing importance of smartphones to affluent consumers and demonstrate the extent to which mobile devices are integrated into their personal and, crucially, their business lives, as improved technology enables greater engagement with content. The study also provides clear evidence that affluent consumers, who make up a large proportion of the BBC World News and BBC.com/news audience, are significantly more receptive to mobile advertising than the general population.

The survey emphasises the growing trend for news consumption on mobile platforms and reflects the results of the BBC’s 2012 study of news consumption - bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/worldnews/news-consumption.html - in which 59 per cent of affluent consumers expected to consume more news on their phones over the next five years.

Additionally, 2012’s survey found that news consumption on mobiles was mainly restricted to scanning news headlines. In comparison, 34 per cent of new handset users* surveyed in the new study say they now dive deeper when consuming news and are likely to read additional articles connected the original piece. This is 42 per cent higher than for those using older handsets. Owners of the latest handsets are also 10 per cent more likely than the general population to watch news video or stream content on their mobile phones.

Jim Egan, CEO of BBC Global News Ltd said: “The rapidly growing importance of mobile to our global audiences is one of the big themes for our industry and we are constantly working to create the best mobile browsing experience, be that with the introduction of our international BBC News and Sports apps, or on-going responsive design innovations.

“This new research reveals significant change in mobile consumption – people are delving deeper into stories on their mobiles, consuming more video and, significantly, growing accustomed to advertising on their mobiles. This large study provides compelling evidence that mobile advertising works with affluent mobile consumers in particular and that has big implications for publishers and advertisers alike.”

For more information, please contact Jessica.culshaw@bbc.co.uk

Notes to Editors

*New/latest handsets defined as those released since September 2012.

The study was conducted by Millward Brown.

An infographic based on the research is available to download here.