March 2010

Digital Reach Group uncovers Smartphone Figures the first time in Ireland

For the first time in Ireland Irish mobile services company, Digital Reach Group (DRG) can reveal the true state of the Irish smartphone market. The research is being uncovered in advance of the launch of the iPhone this week from Vodafone.

With an advertising network that covers a range of the most popular websites in Ireland, DRG has produced statistical estimates on smartphone market share, usage patterns and the amount of iPhones in circulation. DRG’s ad network, known as Adforce, consists of RTE, Vodafone, Meteor and Bebo and served up a total of 80 million ads in seven months reaching over 500,000 people. “An analysis of the mobile web traffic to our network gives a valid representation of the market share of devices and the usage patterns of users,” said DRG’s Operations Director Gavan Drohan.

The key findings of DRG’s research are:

  • Approximately 250,000 iPhones are currently active on Irish networks
  • While O2 makes up the highest proportion of iPhone mobile traffic at 35%, 10% of iPhone traffic already comes from Vodafone iPhone devices ahead of the company launching the handset. The remainder of the traffic is made of Wifi access as users often have wifi access at home and in work
  • The most popular individual smartphone handset is the Apple iPhone followed by handsets from Nokia’s E and N series and Blackberry’s 8000 series respectively
  • iPhone traffic was static between September and November 2009 but increased by 50% in December 2009 versus November. This is possibly due to O2’s free iPhone offer in advance of the end of its exclusivity deal with Apple for the handset
  • Apple traffic on the network is divided at 82% for the iPhone and 18% for the iPod Touch
  • Google’s Android system is a new entrant into the Irish market but is making rapid inroads at 0.5% already since the launch of HTC’s Hero handset on Meteor last October
  • Peaks and troughs in usage are less pronounced for iPhones than other devices, as people tend to use them far more regularly throughout the day. This reinforces the idea that there are benefits to combining excellent usability with an attractive data tariff.
  • The top five handset manufacturers on the network are 1. Nokia 2. Sony Ericsson 3. Research In Motion (Blackberry) 4. Samsung 5. Apple

“There is a lot of hype about the mobile apps gold rush but these figures show that this is truly an exciting time for app developers and the mobile industry. There is something of a format war for developers that Apple are clearly winning but we note that Google’s Android system is making rapid inroads into the market too. As more Android handsets become available from different manufacturers this year, it may start to eat into the iPhone’s market share,” added Drohan.

The research also reveals that the iPhone Touch is a notable success as a home internet browser. DRG’s Managing Director Colm Grealy added “The proportion of users browsing over wifi at home and work explains why manufacturers are rushing out tablet devices. Mobile internet is now here and the public are increasingly more inclined to go online on these handheld devices. This means that businesses without a mobile web strategy must look at the medium now or risk being left behind.”