Users with iPhones are by far the heaviest mobile Web users. Researcher Net Applications found that 66% of those reaching the mobile Web to browse or search are iPhone users.
But by another measure, application downloads, iPhone users aren’t any more active than other phone owners. Research firm In-Stat has found that smartphone users, including those on iPhones, download an average of five applications each.
Nevertheless, In-Stat is predicting that users of mobile applications stores will quadruple worldwide by 2013, from the 25 million who shop there now. That won’t be just the iTunes App Store, either, although in December Apple’s online market reached its 300 millionth download since its July 2008 launch. App stores for Google’s Android phones, for handsets from Nokia and Blackberry, and for those running Windows Mobile are expected to get a share of the apps business.
That business will have a marketing impact. “Reach for marketing applications is growing rapidly,” In-Stat principal analyst David Chamberlain said in a research note. “Those applications can provide prolonged engagement and keep the brand in focus.”
Among the brands currently offering iPhone apps are BMW’s Z4 driving game, Godiva’s candy shopping app, and Kraft Foods’ recipe-based iFood Assistant.