Gartner Says More Than a Third of US Adult Smartphone Users Use Their Smartphones for Video Calling
Video Calling Is Growing Into a Key Mainstream Activity on Smartphones
More than 50 million adult smartphone users in the US (about 35 per cent of the total surveyed) use their smartphones for video calling. This number is likely to exceed 60 million people when those ages 17 and younger are included. In Germany, more than eight million adult smartphone users (about 20 per cent) use their devices for video calling, a figure more likely to exceed 10 million when those ages 17 and younger are included. Gartner defines video calling as person-to-person communication using a video application such as Apple's FaceTime, Skype or Google Hangouts.
"Based on these survey findings, we believe one of the use cases that has seemed marginal for some time now warrants much greater attention - and that is video calling," said Atsuro Sato, senior research analyst at Gartner. "Person-to-person video calling, especially using smartphones, has reached very high numbers in the US, particularly among the younger demographics. Although the US results were ahead of Germany, we believe they show the direction that other markets will follow, with important implications for product managers and marketers of smartphones."
The survey results showed adoption is markedly skewed toward the younger demographic, with video calling in the 18 to 24 age group reaching 53.5 per cent in the US and 30 per cent in Germany. Video calling uptake is slanted toward early adopters but shows encouraging signs of expansion across all consumer segments.
"The US market is an important leading indicator for video calling take-up in other global markets," said Andrew Chetham, managing vice president at Gartner. "In North America (the US and Canada), smartphones account for 78 per cent of total phone sales. The US is advanced in its Long Term Evolution (LTE) service coverage and corresponding better video quality should help drive usage outside Wi-Fi hot spot zones. As mobile carrier spending on LTE infrastructure expands in other countries, video calling should increase accordingly."
Although its adoption of video calling lags behind the US, Gartner chose Germany as a European alternative market to study due to its high usage among the younger adults, pointing to a wider uptake in coming years.
"Video calling is a mass market and mainstream activity on smartphones in the US, with 34.6 per cent adult smartphone user adoption. Other markets will follow that path, depending on local constraints," said Werner Goertz, research director at Gartner. "As a result, product managers for smartphone original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) should ensure that high-end and midrange devices have front-facing cameras with enough resolution and overall ability to capture good quality video. The requirements for capturing video calls will be higher than for still 'selfies.' Optimising camera technology not for depth of focus, but for high refresh rates on images in close proximity will be essential."
More detailed analysis is available in the report "Market Trends: High Adoption of Video Calling on Smartphones Shows Need to Focus on Front-Facing Camera Quality and Sound." The report is available on Gartner's web site at http://www.gartner.com/document/2887617.
Gartner UK Ltd
Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world's leading information technology research and advisory company. We deliver the technology-related insight necessary for our clients to make the right decisions, every day. From CIOs and senior IT leaders in corporations and government agencies, to business leaders in high-tech and telecom enterprises and professional services firms, to technology investors, we are the valuable partner to clients in over 9,100 distinct enterprises worldwide. Through the resources of Gartner Research, Gartner Executive Programs, Gartner Consulting and Gartner Events, we work with every client to research, analyze and interpret the business of IT within the context of their individual role. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, USA., and has 6,600 associates, including more than 1,500 research analysts and consultants, and clients in 85 countries. For more information, visit www.gartner.com.
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