Summary:

The most common method of getting music onto a phone is sideloading, which accounted for 83 percent of mobile music usage across France, Ger…

The most common method of getting music onto a phone is sideloading, which accounted for 83 percent of mobile music usage across France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States in November according to M:Metrics. The next most common method is sharing tracks between friends, which beat over-the-air downloads in all the teritories except Spain and the US. The US had a far lower percentage of people listening to mobile music at 5.7 percent of mobile users, compared to 20 percent in Spain and 18.9 percent in the UK, however because of the size of the market it beat all the EU countries in absolute numbers (12.4 million). The US also had the highest percentage of people who listen to music on their mobile downloading it directly to their phone — 18.3 percent compared to 10 percent in the UK and 8.6 percent in France. People in the US are still big users of ringtones, with 9.7 percent buying one in November, whereas across the 5 EU countries measured only 4.3 percent of mobile users bought a ringtone. While someone is likely to use these figures to suggest that piracy is rampant on mobiles and that over-the-air services can’t work, M:Metrics suggests that “the fact that consumers are sharing music demonstrates its potential as a social, viral phenomenon centered on mobile handsets”.

Other figures for mobile content include:
— Accessed News/Info via Browser: US 12.6 percent, EU 9.1 percent
— Played, Downloaded Mobile Game: US 9.1 percent, EU 8.7 percent
— Watched video: US 4.2 percent, EU 5.1 percent
— Accessed Downloaded Application: US 4.2 percent, EU 2.6 percent
— Sent/Received Photos or Videos: US 20.5 percent, EU 27.5 percent
— Received SMS Ads: US 20.6 percent, EU 53.3 percent

So based on this data the idea that the US is behind Europe in terms of mobile content usage is outdated, although there are differences in the different categories — as there are differences between European countries. The biggest difference is the proportion of people who received SMS ads, which was significantly higher in Europe. (release)

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