comScore reports the number of people who sought local information on a mobile device grew 51 percent from March 2008 to March 2009.
The mobile browser is the leading access method for seeking local information, with 20.7 million users in March 2009, up 34 percent versus year ago. However, the strongest growth in the category is coming from downloaded applications, which grew 83 percent versus a year ago, followed by SMS at 72 percent.
Despite the attention mobile applications received from developers, carriers and device OEMs, however, they remain the least popular access mode for mobile access of local information, with 11.3 million users in March. A marginally more often used channel for obtaining local information is SMS, with 11.7 million users, an impressive 72-percent growth rate. Overwhelmingly, though, the preferred mode to access local content remains the mobile browser.
“Given the explosion in application stores and associated marketing efforts, along with the growth in mobile phones using faster data networks, it would not be surprising within the next six months to see the number of people using downloadable applications surpass SMS for the accessing of local information via mobile devices,” said Serge Matta, comScore senior vice president.
Among the various local content categories, the number of people accessing online directories had the greatest increase during the past year (73 percent), followed by restaurants (70 percent), maps (63 percent) and movies (60 percent).