Down Under, mobile devices have transitioned from being primarily used for voice and text to more sophisticated multi-functional usage based on their mobile media capabilities, including online video.
Frost & Sullivan noted that with faster wireless networks and improvements in screen size and resolution, over 50% of smartphone users are watching user generated videos on sites like YouTube. Video content viewing on mobile devices is expected to grow significantly over the next few years as data caps increase and the range and quality of content increases from a growing ecosystem of providers.
Viewing online video and user-generated content on sites such as YouTube are the most popular activities on tablets, and this is expected to increase considerably over the next five years. 39% of tablet-owners watch this type of content very frequently, i.e. on most days. More consumers at home will watch videos on tablets in preference to TV's and usage will also increase with higher consumer mobility and faster wireless networks.
Nearly half of all smartphone users say that regularly engaging with mobile media is the main way they utilise their smartphone.
"As smartphone functionality continues to improve with higher resolutions and larger screens, faster Internet access via 4G networks and higher data downloads, this percentage will increase significantly over the next few years," said Phil Harpur, senior research manager for Australia & New Zealand at Frost & Sullivan.
There's room for significantly increased online video usage going forward. The firm estimates that Australia's smartphone penetration stands at 73% in the 15-65 age group, and predicts this to reach 93% by 2018, when it is likely that virtually all mobile phones will have built-in smartphone functionality.
The Android operating system has overtaken the Apple iOS as the most popular smartphone operating platform and is being used by an increasing number of mobile phone vendors including Samsung, HTC, ARM and Motorola. Samsung in particular, has grown its market share significantly over the past 12 months. Apple's market share of smartphones in use is predicted to drop further over the next few years and by 2017 Apple's market share is predicted to be less than 30%.
Tablet penetration in Australian households is also forecast to increase significantly from 49% in 2013 to 80% in 2018. "Tablet growth will outpace that of smartphones, which are a more mature device closer to maximum penetration," said Harpur.
Apple's iPad dominates the tablet market, both locally and internationally, but this dominance will weaken as other players in the market improve their functionality and more vendors enter the market with cheaper price points. Just in the last 12 months, Apple's market share in Australia of the tablet market has dropped from 69% to 60%, and it is expected to fall significantly lower over the next few years.