Mobile phones and tablets accounted for nearly 7% of U.S. Internet traffic in August 2011. Mobile phones accounted for about 2/3 of the total, with tablets accounting for most of the remainder, according to a new report from comScore that “analyzes how cross-platform consumption has created a vastly different landscape as consumers utilize a growing number of devices to consumer digital content.”

“The popularization of smartphones and the introduction of tablets and other web-enabled devices – collectively termed ‘connected devices’ – have contributed to an explosion in digital media consumption,” commented Mark Donovan, senior vice president of mobile in a press release.

“As these devices gain adoption, we have also seen the rise of the ‘digital omnivores’ – consumers who access content through several touchpoints during the course of their daily digital lives. In order to meet the needs of these consumers, advertisers and publishers must learn to navigate this new landscape so they develop cross-platform strategies to effectively engage their audiences.”

Entitled, “Digital Omnivores: How Tablets, Smartphones and Connected Devices are Changing U.S. Digital Media Consumption,” the report’s highlights include:

  • Mobile phones drive digital traffic around the world, while tablets are gaining steam. The share of non-computer traffic for the U.S. stood at 6.8 percent in August 2011, with approximately two-thirds of that traffic coming from mobile phones, and tablets accounting for much of the remainder.
  • Increased Wi-Fi availability and mobile broadband adoption in the U.S. are helping drive connectivity. In August 2011, more than 1/3 (37.2 percent) of U.S. digital traffic coming from mobile phones occurred via a WiFi connection. That’s nearly 3 points higher in the past three months. Tablets, which traditionally required a WiFi connection, are increasingly driving traffic using mobile broadband access. In August, nearly 10% of traffic from tablets occurred via a mobile network connection.
  • Today, 1/2 of the total U.S. mobile population uses mobile media. The mobile media user population (those who browse the mobile web, access applications, or download content) grew 19% in the past year to more than 116 million people, as of end August.
  • iPads dominate among tablets in driving digital traffic. iPads delivered 97.2% of all tablet traffic in the U.S. in August. iPads have also begun to account for a higher share of Internet traffic than iPhones (46.8% vs. 42.6% of all iOS device traffic).
  • In the U.S., tablet users display the characteristics of early technology adopters: young males in upper income brackets. In August, 54.7% of all tablet owners were male and nearly 30% were age 25-34. Nearly half (45.9 percent) of tablet owners belonged to households earning $100K and more.
  • Nearly half of tablet owners made or completed a purchase on their tablet. Tablet owners exhibited significant use of their devices throughout the entire online shopping process – from doing the initial planning, conducting product and store research, making price comparisons, to finally transacting. In the past month, more than half of tablet owners looked up product or price information for a specific store (56%) and read customer ratings and reviews while on a tablet (54%).
  • Nearly 3 out of 5 tablet owners consume news on their tablets; 58% of tablet owners consumed world, national or local news on their devices. One in four consumed this content on a near-daily basis on their tablets.
  • Tablets facilitate real-time social networking. Nearly 3 in 5 tablet owners updated their social networking status or commented on others’ status on their device during September, while slightly less than half shared their location using a location-sharing site during.
  • The incremental reach through mobile and connected devices should not be underestimated. In the case of a publisher such as Pandora, the incremental reach of additional channels, such as connected devices, is significant. In August 2011, the additional mobile and connected device audience for Pandora accounted for more than half of their total cross-platform audience.

At 43.1%, comScore researchers found that Apple’s iOS had the largest average share of connected devices in the three months ending August this year. Google’s Android ranked second with a 34.1% share and RIM’s BlackBerry third with 15.4%.

At 58.5%, Apple’s iOS mobile operating system (OS) also accounted for the largest share of Internet traffic from mobile devices. Google again ranked second, at 31.9%, and RIM third with a 5% market share.

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