NPD Group: More Smartphone Owners are Playing Games than Using Business Applications

Market Research Firm Reports on Portable Device Usage

by Anton Shilov
11/19/2008 | 03:59 AM

A recent report from market research company NPD Group claims that despite of the fact that modern smartphones come with loads of pre-installed applications with many more available for purchase, games and music remain more popular among end-users.


According to the report, more smartphone owners are playing games than using business related applications on their device. Smartphone usage is still highest for their primary purpose which are the communications features including making and receiving phone calls, and sending and receiving email or text messages. Among iPhone users specifically, the application with the greatest increase in use over the last three months was playing games.

Across all devices, music is yielding the highest average for purchase/download volume ranging between 4.2 and 6.0 purchases/downloads in a typical month. Primary gaming devices skew younger with over 50% falling in the 6-to-18 age range.  Portable digital music players (PDMP) skew older with 68% of the owners measured age 19 or older, while 68% of smartphone owners are 35 and older.

Despite the portable nature of all the devices surveyed, the top location for use of each device was in-home, which indicates that these devices may be competing with more stationary entertainment devices for a user’s time.

The report also states that at least half of the owners of portable devices are using their devices about the same if not more today than they were three months ago. This is especially pronounced among smartphone owners, with 46% claiming they use their smartphones more.

The report details the features and functions that consumers are most aware of and using on their portable entertainment devices including the PlayStation Portable (PSP), the Nintendo DS, iPods, iPhones, and smartphones by examining feature use and awareness, purchased content, purchase influencers, the frequency of purchases and downloads, as well as the amount of money spent.

The survey was fielded to an individual pre-identified sample of owners of portable devices such as portable gaming systems, smartphones and personal digital media players. The data was collected from 3258 members of NPD’s online consumer panel.  Fieldwork was conducted from September 16 through September 23, 2008.