Mobile devices and mobile broadband connections are driving a “dramatic increase” in online video viewing, as users worldwide increasingly use smartphones and tablets to watch online videos, read newspapers and otherwise consume content, according to IDG Global Solutions’ fifth annual, “Global Mobile Survey: The Mobile Evolution,” which the firm says is “the biggest ever study of consumer and business use of mobile devices.”

In producing the 2014 Global Mobile Survey, IDG researchers canvassed 23,500 executives and consumers in 43 countries regarding mobile use. Among a host of findings, they found that 75 percent of consumers use a smartphone to watch online videos up from 61 percent in 2012. That’s an increase of 22% in two years.

Smartphone Video Viewership
“Video consumption has become pervasive on mobile devices,” IDG states. Moreover, researchers found that young adult Millennials and C-suite executives spend nearly equal amounts of time viewing video on tablets: 92 percent of 18-34 year-olds and 91 percent of senior executives reported watching video on their tablets. While both groups use their tablets to access and watch a broad range of content, C-suite execs are nearly twice as likely to watch promotional videos.

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Researchers also found that mobile devices are replacing traditional media: 50 percent of respondents said they use a tablet to read newspapers. Forty percent said their tablet has replaced a desktop or laptop computer. Blurring the boundaries of personal and work use, 80 percent said they use their tablets in the evenings to research products or services for business.

“The ‘mobile evolution’ is having a profound effect on consumers and businesses,” IDG Global Solutions’ Christina Carstensen was quoted in a press release.

“It has kick-started the ‘always-on’ culture, presenting brands with unprecedented opportunities to develop closer relationships with their customers. We have moved beyond media convergence to a convergence of technology and humans, and brands more than ever need to show their human side to communicate in a relevant, engaging and intuitive way.”

Content providers and website operators are racing to keep up with burgeoning demand for mobile data services. “A lack of mobile-enabled websites and security concerns remain the biggest barriers” to the growth of smartphone purchases, IDG says.

Senior Exec Mobile Habits
Zooming in on four key areas, IDG found 92 percent of senior execs own a smartphone for business. Seventy-seven percent said they use them to research products or services for their business. Ninety-three percent said they switch devices and go on to purchase products via the Internet using a laptop or desktop. Half of the execs surveyed said they had purchased IT products for business using their smartphone, with 13 percent saying they had made a purchase costing between $1,000 and $4,999.

Shifting their focus to mobile usage among Millennials and Generation X, IDG found that 91 percent of 18-24 year-olds and 85 percent of 25-34 year-olds used their smartphones to engage on social networking sites and apps. Just 38 percent of the former group owned a tablet, however. That jumps to 55 percent among 25-35 year-olds, with 65 percent reporting having used another device or screen, television for 83 percent, coincidentally with their tablet.

Finally, IDG turned its attention to mobile tech lifestyles and multitasking. Researchers found that 61 percent of respondents are using another device while they are using their tablet. Fifty-eight percent use another device while using their smartphone, the majority of the time conducting unrelated activities.

Image courtesy of flickr user bendodson.

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