We've had many stats reported recently, including Chetan Sharma's big market update and a global survey by TNS and many other data points from various sources. Lets take a survey of what kind of numbers we can confirm and update.
THE BIGGEST NUMBER EVER
The 7 Billion milestone is coming in less than 12 months. We've seen this number coming. Some are already suggesting we'll hit the 7 Billion level by the end of this year 2012. I have said it will hit about March-April of 2013. The number of 7 Billion is not really the exciting number, the real number will be the point where there are more active mobile phone subscriptions than humans alive on the planet, so the number will be something like 7.05 Billion or so. But yes, that number is coming next spring.
THE BIG PICTURE STATS
How much money? I reported that we passed 1.3 Trillion dollars in total industry annual revenues in 2011. Now we have Chetan Sharma giving his early estimate for 2012 saying we'll pass 1.5 Trillion dollars this year.
As to the split of mobile data revenues, we have now fresh numbers from Strategy Analytics which found mobile media to be worth 149.8 Billion dollars, and Portio which found mobile messaging to to be worth 202 Billion dollars in 2011. Add those together and you get 352 Billion dollars, where I called it for 2011 at 365 Billion dollars. Close enough.
Chetan also has some other interesting numbers. His count of total global mobile phone users found 1.1 Billion smartphone owners today. That is somewhat above the 910 million that I reported at the end of last year but its close. Of SMS users, Chetan counts 5 Billion active users of SMS text messaging which is the same as I find. Chetan counted 3.2 Billion non-SMS mobile data users; I had that number at 3.0 Billion, so we are again reasonably close.
SOME USER STATS
Then lets go to some user stats. We have been reporting on the early metrics, like SMS and MMS users, messages and revenues for many years now, as that data is usually reasonably well available. But more advanced numbers are difficult to find. Now we have a massive global survey covering 48,000 consumers and several less-frequently reported data points. I calculated the global numbers using those 58 countries as regional samples, and found that globally according to data projected from TNS survey reveals that we currently have 1.6 Billion active users of mobile browsing (I counted it at 1.8 Billion).
TNS survey data also suggests globally there are 1.3 Billion users of mobile social networking. This number is significantly above the number I reported for the end of 2011 (900 million). I am not disputing the TNS finding, the measurement of mobile social networking users is particularly difficult as so many of those services are locally known but not globally familiar, and are often particular to language-regions. So I accept this definitely as the best number currently. It is obviously also good news..
The TNS survey also gave a number on the users of WiFi services by mobile phone owners at 1.0 Billion. This is consistent with my reported number of the installed base of WiFi capable handsets at 1.1 Billion. Most - but not all - would be used with the WiFi feature at some point by their users. Note that there obviously are more WiFi enabled phones than total smarpthones, because some premium featurephones also have WiFi capability.
One new very good data point that also came from the TNS Survey is the total number of users of QR Codes. That number (estimated by projecting the TNS data as regionally pro-rated users to the total global mobile phone subscriber base by TomiAhonen Consulting) is 380 million. So 9% of the total unique mobile phone user base already has started to use QR codes globally. That is a very strong promising growth rate and suggests more than a quarter of the planet would be using QR codes in about 2-3 years from now.
And then we have some of those wonderful stats that make great conversation in presentations and press articles. I've talked about the 150 number, that the average person looks at their phone 150 times per day. That came from Nokia two years ago. Now the CEO of T-Mobile USA, Philipp Humm has said that US mobile phone owners "pick up their phones 150 times per day." Cool. A new independent verification of the 150 number. Now lets see who measures it at 200 in some advanced country or for some heavy user segment like teenagers haha... 150 times per day, by the way, means for every waking hour, we look at your phones once every 6 and a half minutes of every day.
Then the sex stat. A Zeldi survey of 1,000 mothers in the UK, found that .. I'm not making this up .. 12% of British mothers use their mobile phones while having sex. This would be a mindboggling stat, except that it is roughly in line with earlier stats like two years ago we heard that 10% of British youth send SMS text messages while having sex. So yeah, this is consistent with the previous findings too. But you want a sexy stat to quote, here is your 2012 number, courtesy of Zeldi. (the story was at Mediapost, am now having trouble locating article.. will add link if and when I can rediscover it)
And what of our addiction? Vodafone New Zealand released some end-user survey stats at the Tel.Con event in Auckland (sorry, no link, they showed powerpoint slides). They have just found, that for example yes 41% of us use the phone on the toilet and 42% while at the dinner table, but 74% of us access our social networking services from bed. And 23% of New Zealanders have accessed mobile internet services from the beach. Can't live without it, eh?
So there are a few big numbers for us to memorize. And if you have a hard time memorizing all the big numbers of the industry, then there is an easy stats package you can save onto your smartphone or iPad or Kindle or laptop. So please remember, you can get a full unresticted copy of the 2010 edition of the TomiAhonen Almanac right now, without any registration or fee, downloading it directly from Lulu.com - it does not have the very latest stats, obviously, but its all free and if you were digging for some obscure number or needed some scale and historical view, it has over 90 tables, graphs and charts just for you. If you find it useful, also tell your friends to download theirs at TomiAhonen Almanac 2010 free edition.