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PC market sending mixed messages

The Columbus Dispatch

SAN FRANCISCO — The personal-computer market is still ailing, despite showing some signs of recovery in several key markets.

PC sales in the third quarter rebounded in the U.S. and western Europe. But shipments continued to fall in China, Japan and other Asian countries, where more people with smartphones and tablets apparently see little reason to buy laptop and desktop machines.

The contrasts emerged in two separate reports released Wednesday by research firms International Data Corp. and Gartner Inc.

IDC estimates worldwide PC shipments during the three months ended in September totaled 78.5 million units, a 2 percent decline from last year. Gartner pegged sales at 79.4 million units, a decrease of less than 1 percent.

This marks the ninth time in the past 10 quarters that worldwide PC shipments have dropped, a slump driven by the growing popularity of mobile devices for work, entertainment, information and communications.

Read on…

Infographic: The Multiscreen World

By Nick Rojas

Over the past decade, the amount of technology available to the public has gradually changed the way that people live their daily lives. More importantly: the versatility of these technologies have allowed people to become more efficient, revolutionizing market consumption, and creating demand for things that had never really been considered before.

As people grew more and more reliant on these devices, more and more of them became available. Laptops and televisions, smartphones and tablets,all permitted their users to do things that they hadn’t thought they needed to before, and this all pointed towards one thing: how users consumed media. Before, television viewers were at the mercy of the networks, watching commercials because they had to. While DVRs changed that for many viewers, it was smartphones and tablets that took them to a different place entirely. With the technology available, users began using their devices while they watched television. This trend towards multi-screen usage was seen by many as an overindulgence in entertainment, at first, but as the trend continued to grow and grow, it became readily apparent that it was more than just a trend.

Mult-screen usage indicates a shift towards multitasking, something that consumers have grown to love. This infographic, provided by TollFreeForwarding.com, is an exploration into the ways that users are consuming information, and why cross-platform development is becoming a key component of not only user experience, but for content marketing, as well.

TFF M5 Multiscreen Infographic: The Multiscreen World

Mobile users focus on just a few apps

Warc

American smartphone owners use their favourite app for 42% of all the time they spend accessing apps, a new report into iPhone and Android behaviour has revealed.

According to the US Mobile App Report from comScore, the internet technology research firm, app usage now accounts for over half (52%) of all digital time in the US, but only a few well-known app brands dominate overall usage.

As reported by MediaPost, six big tech brands – Facebook, Google, Apple, Yahoo, Amazon and eBay – account for nine of the top 10 most-used apps, 16 of the top 25, and 24 of the top 50, with Facebook leading for both the largest base of users and the most time spent.

Nearly three-quarters of the time US smartphone users spend with apps is concentrated on just four apps, the report also found, while more than half (57%) access apps every day.

While Facebook and some other brands remain dominant, smaller apps can still achieve success, said Adam Lella, a marketing insights analyst at comScore.

“It certainly means there might be some challenges for smaller players on this medium, but success is also very possible,” he said in comments reported by AdExchanger.

He explained: “We have seen some standalone apps achieve huge audiences on mobile, for example SnapChat and Pandora, while others have found ways to monetise through non-advertising business models that don’t require competing with the larger companies on audience size, like Uber and certain gaming apps.”

The report also noted some behavioural and demographic differences between iPhone and Android users with the former being younger and wealthier.

The median iPhone user earns $85,000 a year compared to $61,000 for Android users, and 43% of iPhone users are aged 18 to 34 versus 39% of Android users.

iPhone users are more likely to use apps to consume media, such as general news and social networks, while Android users focus more on apps for search and email, which comScore attributed to the strong presence of Google Search and Gmail on the platform.

UK: More Consumers Buy on Mobile

IDG Connect 0811 300x141 UK: More Consumers Buy on Mobile

According to a recent study by xAd and Telmetrics which looked at the mobile behaviors of 2,000 UK tablet and smartphone users, up to 46% of UK consumers now use mobile devices as their primary tool for purchase decision making, while one in four use mobile devices as their exclusive shopping research tool. From comparison shopping to looking up nearby store locations to searching for store contact info, consumers are doing more and more purchase research and general browsing on their mobile devices, even while at home with a computer nearby. In fact, according to the study, 60% of those surveyed reported being at home the last time they accessed their smartphones.

As consumers turn to mobile to meet their varying research needs, they are becoming more comfortable with these devices as a primary decision-making tool. Satisfaction with the information available on smartphones in particular increased 18% since last year’s study.  

Mobile Advertising Has a Bigger Influence on In-Store Purchases Than You May Expect

Retail was the most popular category for mobile purchases, with 35% of survey respondents completing their transactions on their mobile devices. However, the impact of increasing mobile commerce activity isn’t limited to on-device or even online behaviors. Of those surveyed, 31% reported visiting a physical store at some point during their mobile search process. The study showed that mobile devices are frequently being used to not only research products and services, but also to find nearby store locations and store contact info. Ultimately, 37% of study respondents completed their purchases offline, with 20% of Telecom and Insurance shoppers completing purchases via phone.

Most Consumers Are Open to Influence, But Make It Quick 

When first turning to their mobile devices, less than 20% of respondents knew exactly what they were looking for, making 80% completely open to purchase influence. Consumers are also expecting purchase gratification more quickly than they have in the past. Nearly 50% reported wanting to make their purchase within a day and 30% are looking to make a purchase within the hour (up 52% since 2013).

Competitive Pricing and Easy Access to Store Contact Info Are Biggest Purchase Drivers for Mobile Consumers

According to the study, three out of four UK consumers used their mobile devices for price comparison and 39% made a purchase because the product/service was the right price. Store proximity and easy access to contact info are also important factors. Over 50% of respondents expect to find a location within eight kilometers of their current location, underscoring the importance of accurate location data, while up to 40% of shoppers made phone calls to the businesses they searched.

Fore more blogs and research from IDG Connect, click here 

Majority of Latin America’s Smartphone Users Buy via Mobile

eMarketer

Where are smartphone users most likely to report purchasing products or services on their handsets? The answers may surprise you—especially the answer to the question, “Where aren’t they?”

176331 Majority of Latin Americas Smartphone Users Buy via Mobile

May 2014 polling by IDG Global Solutions found that 78% of smartphone users in Asia-Pacific had made a mobile commerce purchase, compared with 70% in North America. It makes some sense that a relatively less developed ecommerce market would place high according to this metric, however: Overall, smartphone penetration in Asia-Pacific is relatively low, meaning the share of such users who have made a purchase is likely to be high. Across a broader swathe of the population, mcommerce penetration would look lower.

Latin America is another standout by this metric—an outright majority of smartphone users reported making a purchase. That compares with significantly lower penetration rates across the population of consumers and internet users who make ecommerce purchases at all (including on the desktop).

And while Latin America is behind the Middle East and Africa—another region where smartphone penetration reaches a fairly small share of the overall population, and smartphone users are therefore a select and advanced portion of the market—it placed ahead of both Eastern and Western Europe, places where smartphone penetration is higher, according to eMarketer’s estimates.

With Year-on-Year Growth of 84% in the Second Quarter, India Smartphone Market Still Has Immense Potential, Says IDC

IDC PMS4colorversion 1 300x99 With Year on Year Growth of 84% in the Second Quarter, India Smartphone Market Still Has Immense Potential, Says IDC

The smartphone market in India has maintained its growth impetus with smartphone shipments achieving year-on-year growth of 84% in Q2 2014 and a quarter-over-quarter growth of 11%. The potential for future growth in the smartphone market remains quite high as 71% of the market continues to be on feature phones.

According to International Data Corporation (IDC), the overall India mobile phone market stood at 63.21 million units in Q2 2014, a 5% increase over Q1 2014. The quarter-over-quarter growth can be attributed to both product categories (i.e. smartphones and feature phones).  Back-to-back volume growth in the smartphone market is also being noted due to the re-defined, low-price smartphone models and continuous migration from feature phones to smartphones.

The Indian smartphone market grew by 84% year-on-year in Q2 2014. According to IDC Asia Pacific Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker (excluding Japan),vendors shipped a total of 18.42 million Smartphones in Q2 2014 compared to 10.02 million in the same period of 2013. The sub-$200 category of the smartphone market is increasing in terms of new shipment share as the contribution from this category stood at 81% in Q2 2014. With the influx of Chinese vendors and Mozilla’s plans to enter the smartphone category at the $50 price level, the low-end segment of the smartphone market will become crucial in the coming quarters.

The shipment of “Phablets” (5.5 inch – 6.99 inch screen size Smartphone) in Q2 2014 was noted to be 5.4% of the overall smartphone segment. The phablet category grew by 20% quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) in terms of sheer volume. More than half of the phablets shipped were in the under-$250 price band and Indian vendors are dominant in the noted price segment.

Jaideep Mehta, Vice President and General Manager – South Asia, IDC says, “While Samsung has held on to its leadership position in the market, it is noteworthy that Micromax is growing faster. Samsung needs to continue to address the low-end of the market aggressively, and also needs a blockbuster product at the high end to regain momentum. Given the current growth rates, there is a real possibility of seeing vendor positions change in the remaining quarters this year.”

“IDC observes that a new entry level price point is being breached by the Indian home grown vendors every quarter. These devices are not equipped with high end specifications and RAM is typically 256 MB. This ultra low cost segment may not sound a viable option to the repeat buyers, but it works well on the targeted segment,” says Karan Thakkar Senior Market Analyst at IDC India.

Q2 2014 has been an exciting quarter for the players in the mobile phone market.  Among the top five vendors, Micromax and Lava were the only ones to have outstripped the market growth. The former grew by 18% and the latter by 54% in the overall phone business.  Micromax not only toppled Nokia to clinch the number 2 spot, but also created a gap between the second and third spot.

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iPhone 6: mass production of new sapphire screens begins

The Guardian

Near-unscratchable screens that are expected to be one of the biggest selling points of the iPhone 6 when Apple unveils the latest model in September are to go into large-scale production this month.

To create industrial quantities of man-made sapphire, the material already used to cover the fingerprint-sensing home button and camera lens on its phones, Apple has a $578m (£350m) deal with manufacturer GT Advanced Technologies, which has built a plant powered by renewable energy in Mesa, Arizona.

The iPhone 6 will make its first public appearance on 9 September, when Apple has scheduled a big media event. “You should be good without a screen protector on your next iPhone,” predicted technology blogger Marques Brownlee, who has subjected what he claimed was a leaked prototype of the new screen to his own durability tests on video:stabbing it with a hunting knife and trying to snap it while standing on it.

Until now Apple has relied on toughened glass, which can however easily be shattered and marked. But screens already demonstrated by GT can withstand scratches from concrete. Its thin sapphire layers, which could also find their way onto Apple’s rumoured smart watch, are flexible, potentially improving resistance to knocks and falls. In March 2012, Apple patented a concept for laminating thin layers of sapphire to each other and to glass, producing surfaces that are strong and resist chipping.

Apple is said to be preparing two new iPhone models, both of which will have larger screens than their predecessors. The biggest will measure 5.5 inches corner to corner, while the smaller iPhone will have a 4.7-inch screen, according to reports.

The Wall Street Journal claims Apple has ordered an initial batch of between 70m and 80m handsets, its biggest first run production ever, to be sent out from factory gates in time for Christmas and New Year. Last year’s initial order for the iPhone 5S, which introduced Apple’s first fingerprint sensor and had a 4-inch screen like its predecessor, the iPhone 5, was for between 50m and 60m devices. But Apple is preparing for a ramp in sales from China, where its recent distribution partnership with China Mobile should boost demand.

GT chief executive Thomas Gutierrez told investors on a call this month: “The build-out of our Arizona facility, which has involved taking a 1.4 million square foot facility from a shell to a functional structure and the installation of over 1 million square feet of sapphire growth and fabrication equipment, is nearly complete and we are commencing the transition to volume production.”

GT’s new plant will reach full operational capacity in early 2015, but the company is expecting to collect a final $139m payment for its construction from Apple in October.

Samsung buys SmartThings in ambitious push to connect your home

IDG News Service

Samsung has agreed to buy SmartThings, a two-year-old startup that makes software to connect household objects and let them be controlled from afar via smartphone.

The deal, announced Thursday, gives Samsung a solid foothold in the burgeoning “Internet of things” market. IoT generally involves connecting objects such as cameras, sensors and appliances using a wireless Internet connection and controlling them or collecting data.

“SmartThings supports an open and growing ecosystem of developers, who are producing new types of connected devices and unique apps in the cloud that change how everyday objects work,” Samsung said in a press release.

Terms were not disclosed, but a report in Re/code cited a roughly $200 million price tag. Samsung did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

SmartThings makes a mobile app for controlling a range of devices, as well as a software platform for outside developers and device makers. Samsung has become active in this area with its Tizen mobile operating system, which is designed to let consumers control utilities and appliances with their smartphones and other mobile devices.

The acquisition should broaden Samsung’s efforts and let it expand the SmartThings platform to more partners and devices.

SmartThings will operate independently under SmartThings CEO Alex Hawkinson but will move from Washington, D.C., to Samsung’s Open Innovation Center in Palo Alto, California, where Samsung works on bringing new types of software applications to its hardware.

“While we will remain operationally independent, joining forces with Samsung will enable us to support all of the leading smartphone vendors, devices, and applications,” Hawkinson said in a blog post.

IoT activity has heated up over the past year. In a high-profile move earlier this year, Google announced its acquisition of Nest, the smart thermostat maker, for $3.2 billion.

SmartThings got its start on Kickstarter.

Ever Wonder Why Consumers Don’t Click on Mobile Ads?

eMarketer

Mobile users see a decent amount of ads: March 2014 polling by Nielsen for xAd and Telmetrics found that 70% of US adults who used smartphones, tablets or both had encountered mobile ads in the past month. Of course, getting an ad in front of a target doesn’t guarantee interaction, and the majority of mobile device users hadn’t clicked on an advertisement in the month leading up to polling. Smartphone owners were slightly more likely to click on a mobile ad, with 43% saying they had, compared with 37% of those with tablets.

177395 Ever Wonder Why Consumers Dont Click on Mobile Ads?

March 2014 research by Survey Sampling International (SSI) for Adobe found that the platform used to serve mobile ads also made a difference in interaction. While apps claim far more time spent with mobile, mobile device users in North America were more likely to click on mobile website ads. More than one-third had done so in the past three months, compared with 26% who had interacted with an in-app mobile ad. Mobile devices used by respondents in this study included ereaders, mobile phones, smartphones, tablets and wearable devices.

But what about ads that don’t get clicked on? How can advertisers tweak them to drive more interaction? According to xAd and Telmetrics, the most popular reason smartphone and tablet users hadn’t clicked on mobile ads in the past month was because they just weren’t interested in the offering, cited by 47% and 43%, respectively—and suggesting advertisers may need to amp up targeting efforts. Irrelevant advertisements and users simply ignoring them ranked second and third.

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6 things publishers need to know about UK media consumption, from Ofcom’s latest report

The Media Briefing

The dust has by no means settled when it comes to the changing mix of devices and methods people in the UK use to consume content, if Ofcom’s latest communications market report is anything to go by.

As usual it’s packed with useful survey data that helps answer some of the questions publishers have about the way in which their consumers approach media in the digital age, so we’ve picked out six of the most important points. The full reportis worth reading for more detail, however.

1. A laptop still most important device for connecting to the internet

Overall across all internet users, a laptop was considered the most important device for connecting to the internet, according to 40 percent of respondents. However, more respondents said a smartphone was more important than a desktop for getting online – 23 percent to 20 percent, respectively.

Only 15 percent of respondents said a tablet was the most important device, up from 8 percent in 2013.

Those tablet stats almost double however when just looking at those people who actually have a tablet.

mostimportantdevice 6 things publishers need to know about UK media consumption, from Ofcoms latest report

2. Newspapers won’t be missed

Given TheMediaBriefing’s raison d’étre, we’re pretty attached to newspapers and magazines.

However, the wider population doesn’t seem so sentimental, with just two percent of respondents saying a newspaper would be form of media they would miss the most.

Unsurprisingly, watching TV tops the leaderboard for most-missed media (42 percent), but smartphone use comes in second, with 22 percent of respondents saying they would miss it the most.

mostmissed 6 things publishers need to know about UK media consumption, from Ofcoms latest report

3. Less time is spent listening to radio

More time is spent per day using TV, the internet, and mobile phones, but consumers are spending less time per day using the radio, which has dropped from 172 to 166 minutes in the last 5 years.

Consumers are now spending an average of 68 minutes a day using the internet on a PC or laptop, and only 28 minutes a day on a mobile phone, which seems a little low, but the averages are probably skewed by older age groups that still use traditional consumption forms like TV and radio and eschew more digital alternatives.

timeperday 6 things publishers need to know about UK media consumption, from Ofcoms latest report

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