Mobiles up, Facebook down says latest internet research from GlobalWebIndex

Research company Trendstream has been researching consumer behaviour across internet devices since 2009 and its latest GlobalWebIndex survey of nearly 100,000 people in 27 markets (Wave 5 of the ongoing research programme) shows that mobile is on the advance while Facebook is retreating.

Here’s a summary of the report’s findings.

The Fragmented Web: The way that we use the web is increasingly varied. The global internet has become a mix of local internets, each with radically different adoption levels and behaviour profiles. The gap between the fastest and the slowest-growing markets for platforms such as Instant Messenger and Social Networking can be as much as 73 per cent, for example.

The broad picture is of developed internet markets such as the UK and South Korea with more emphasis on purchasing and e-commerce, while emerging countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines increasingly dominate social channels.

Welcome to the Post-PC World: The way we access the internet is changing. PCs and laptops are being replaced by mobile and other devices such as tablets and TV. Although 79 per cent now cite their personal PC/ laptop as their favourite internet device, in 12 months only 42 per cent expect to say the same as consumers plan to switch to mobile (18%), Tablet devices (19%) and TV (7%) among others.

Continued Rise of Real-Time: Microblogging and social networking are the fastest growing social media activities, up 62 per cent and 40 per cent from Wave 1 (July 2009) to Wave 5 (June 2011) respectively The shift is being driven by increased use of mobile and, alongside the rise in app usage, creates huge opportunities for traditional content creators as consumers turn to sharing and recommending content instead of creating.

Facebook Fatigue: Time has wearied users of Facebook and while total usage is growing thanks to emerging countries, established markets such as the US, UK and Canada have seen large declines in terms of active participation such as status updates, sharing content, messaging and installing applications. Active behaviour in the US such as message friends and joined a group in the last month, for example are down 15 per cent points and ten per cent respectively since the start of the research project This trend is even-more pronounced among US college educated, twenty-somethings, the original users of the platform.

The Lean-Back Internet: The rise of the real-time web is highlighting the value of traditional content and creating an ecosystem where media owners can profit from online. Consumers have switched from being content creators to transmitters and distributors of other people’s information.

Consumption of professional video content, films, TV and sports is exploding and consumers are increasingly willing to pay for access. 29 per cent of online users globally would pay to download a TV show or film, the same percentage as would pay to download a music track.

“The constant evolution in the way that consumers are accessing and using internet platforms present real challenges for marketers. It is clear from this research that there is no such thing as a singular global brand strategy online, each market and consumer segment behaves differently,” says Tom Smith, managing director of TrendStream, the company that produces GlobalWebIndex.

“The consumer-driven nature of social media has expanded these differences more quickly than ever before. In addition the massive consumer interest across the world in supplanting the PC with mobiles and tablets as their primary access device, increases the need for very smart multi-platform and multi-market internet strategies,” he adds.

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