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Smartphones now half of Aussie browsing, says Nielsen

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Smartphones are now the engine-room of digital content consumption, according to the Nielsen Australian Online Consumer Report. For the first time, mobile internet penetration has hit 50 per cent with smartphones in the hands of over a third of online Australians.

"Following in the footprint of the smartphones evolution, tablets are another device to watch as a potential game changer," the report says. Tablet ownership is already at 8 per cent of online Australians, however purchase intentions are expected to more than triple tablet ownership by the end of 2011. The strongest intention to purchase is coming from households with children, the report notes.

Australians also continue to increase their consumption of rich media content online, with 71 per cent accessing audio or video content online in 2010 and 35 per cent doing so on a weekly basis.

The proportion of those consuming video content online increased from 41 per cent in 2009 to 60 per cent in 2010.

Meanwhile social media engagement continues to track strongly with 73 per cent of online Australians. "There are new sub categories like location-based services and social commerce and Australian consumers are continuing to increase their engagement with the category and with this decade’s favourite site – Facebook," added Melanie Ingrey, market research director at Nielsen Online.

While Nielsen paints a rosy picture of smartphone and table use, fixed broadband still dwarfs mobile in terms of download volumes. In its last Internet Use in Australia study, the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that fixed broadband users still downloaded more than ten times as much data as mobile broadband users. ®

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