The way we’ve been using technology has changed immensely, especially in the last two years. However, prior to that, Internet traffic was dominated by desktops and was then accompanied by notebooks. Off late, as other web connected devices come into the picture the usage pattern of the consumers, like their daily intake of digital dose has changed. There could be numerous reasons for this phenomenon, ranging from evolved connectivity on the go, to what type of data people prefer accessing even while away from desktop and of course, portability of the devices themselves, among others.

India's contribution in didgital traffic(non-computer) (Image Credit: comScore)

India's contribution in didgital traffic(non-computer) (Image Credit: comScore)

In the Digital Omnivores report by comScore, smartphones come across as the catalyst for triggering this outburst of digital traffic among other web-connected devices like tablets, feature phones, PMPs and gaming consoles. In the U.S, more than 96 percent of the digital traffic from connected devices is offered by smartphones. Considering the top 5 markets – U.S., U.K., Singapore, Japan and Australia, the overall Internet traffic from connected devices is over 5 percent. Having said that, 2 percent of the digital traffic from Internet connected devices comes from tablets in the U.S., which is commendable for a device category that was conceived less than two years ago.

India’s contribution towards the digital traffic of the world from connected devices is 3.7 percent, taking the eighth position. Well, not surprisingly, out of this traffic, which is voluminous as it is, 92 percent comes via mobile handsets. 73.1 percent, however, of the total digital traffic generated by mobile phones, is contributed by feature phones. Although the smartphone segment is catching up, followed by tablets, we still appear to be a very price sensitive market. Moreover, India is one of the fastest growing mobile phone markets, because feature phones have begun to penetrate the rural areas in India, clearly explaining the rapid increase in the usage of the the handset itself. But, this segment of the market is still dominated by low-end handsets.

According to a survey by Strategy Analytics early this year, about 63 percent of the low income rural users prefer affordable phones from companies like Lava, Micromax and Spice. Student community in the urban areas following the current social networking fad, could be yet another reason for larger traffic generated from feature phones. We've seen several feature phones come with support for social networking, including the Facebook dedicated Vodafone Blue 555, and the number of social networking feature phone is speculated to grow even further. Even in the case of tablets, amidst the iPads and high-end Android tablets, there has been an increasing number of reasonably priced tablets like Reliance 3G Tab, Beetel, mTab and now the Aakash.

iOS leads in digital traffic generation

iOS leads in digital traffic generation

The increase in digital traffic from connected device is also due to the increasing number of Android users, which now appears to be more than 50 percent across the world. Although Android takes the top spot in the market share of smartphones, Apple's iOS has bagged the first position in the digital traffic generated by non-computer devices. The iOS platform contributed 58.5 percent of the U.S. traffic in August this year. In its in-house comparison, the iPad beat the iPhone with 97.2 percent contribution.

Internet traffic is also affected by other factors like Wi-Fi connectivity and support for 3G/4G, which is also changing. Smartphones in the U.S. have shown a shift towards Wi-Fi and the tablet arena has about 10 percent users opting for network carriers. One of the key aspects triggering the increase in mobile traffic is the emergence of tablets. Again, considering the top 5 markets, 1 out of 4 page views come from tablets in the connected digital traffic category. Canada has shown an exceptional 40 percent traffic from tablet compared to phones, which is around 47 percent. The statistics also show that from May 2011 to August 2011, the Internet traffic from mobile phones and other connected devices decreased by 3.8 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively, while that from tablets increased by 5.6 percent.
 
Mobile media also gets a higher preference over text and voice calls as people prefer using social sites and e-mails. The increasing non-computer traffic is also based on what kind of data people prefer when they are away from their desktop. The usage pattern of mobile devices claims that people prefer mobile phones in the morning and evening, assuming the time they travel to and from work, while they usually wind up the day using tablets. Tablets are used for relaxation, say for watching news, about 58 percent tablet owners watch news (local, national and world), about 15 percent indulge in TV shows and 24 percent stream music. About two-third of tablet owners indulge in gaming. Needless to say, people prefer gaming on a large tablet screen over their small phone displays.
 
The changing trend of accessing digital media could possibly show an increase in the tablet market in the coming years. The tablet penetration in India is booming, with the advent of Aakash and its speculated ‘better’ versions.

Will India see an increased usage of the tablet , rather than a smartphone? Perhaps not, but the market for the tablet device in the country has nevertheless gone up, along with an almost exponential growth in data usage from the mobile community.

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