For the last six years, global research firm TNS has been compiling extensive reports on the usage habits of mobile phone users. Today the company announced the release of its latest work,TNS Mobile Life 2011. Based on a staggering amount of effort — 25,000 hours of interviews with over 34,000 respondents covering 43 countries — there’s a ton of interesting data here on all sorts of things wrapped up in some attractive Flash graphics to allow you to slice and dice the data. For example, the above graph shows how various phone use cases — email, social networking, internet and so on — varies by time of day across different countries.
The survey shows strong brand loyalty amongst both iOS and Android users, with 51 percent and 49 percent of respondents, respectively, “very likely” to stick with their current platform in the future. I suspect this is because of the lock-in effect of the two platforms’ strong app store offerings. Once you’ve bought a few hundred apps through iTunes or the Android Market, you have a few hundred reasons not to want to switch platforms. Indeed, a quarter of all survey participants said that content and apps for their devices are a key part of choosing a platform.
For Windows and Symbian those customer loyalty numbers were only 30 percent and 31 percent, respectively. It might be that Nokia’s deal with Microsoft to switch to Windows Phone 7 might not help it as much as it hopes, although it’s likely that the relatively poor customer satisfaction in the Windows camp reflects more on previous versions of Windows Mobile (which, as an owner of one, I can confirm stink out loud) than they do on the shiny new WP7.
Looking to the future, the survey sees that as usage of SMS and still photography will reach market saturation, and customer purchasing decisions will be increasingly driven by advanced features, such as access to social networks, live TV viewing and photo and video uploading, particularly in emerging markets. Indeed, the survey paints a picture of a tremendous, untapped hunger for advanced smartphones in these emerging markets, which it defines as 24 countries including most of South America, most of Africa, China and India, amongst others.
There’s far more data here than I can hope to cover in this post — if (like me) you’re a data nerd, I recommend you take a long look for yourself.