iPhone: Not a top 20 handset for browsing and buying on the mobile web

Bango says brands need to look beyond the iPhone to reach
the mass market

iPhone - not a Top 20 handset

iPhone - not a Top 20 handset

According to statistics released today by Bango, when it comes to the most popular phones for browsing and buying content on the mobile web worldwide, the iPhone sits outside the top 20. The Bango Top 20 handset list, based on Bango’s February statistics, puts the Nokia 3110c on top, followed by the Samsung M800 in 2nd and the Nokia 6300 in 3rd. The iPhone appears at 24th on the list.

This data represents the activities of major brands and businesses as their consumers browse to mobile websites (measured by Bango Analytics) and buy mobile content and services (as measured by Bango Payment). The Bango’s stats will be of interest to businesses that monetize their mobile content and services across a wide demographic as spending by iPhone users is restricted to the Apple App Store.

Bango detected 1,811 different types of handsets accessing the mobile Internet in just one month. The Bango chart shows that smartphones account for 30% of handsets in the Top 20; to view the full list go to http://bango.com/support/top20handsets.aspx

“The iPhone has done a lot to encourage people to browse the internet on their phones,” says Ray Anderson, CEO of Bango. “But to get the most out of their mobile marketing spend, companies who are riding the iPhone wave, attracted by its excellent features and user demographics, need to optimize their mobile websites for all phones – especially those in Bango’s Top 20 handset list. Without this, they will be missing out on the mass market”

This is particularly true for businesses with a mobile website who want to give their mobile visitors a great user experience optimized for their mobile device, as well as those selling mobile content and services.

Marketers need to choose their best channel to market and consider sales projections from the leading manufacturers. Based on the number of handsets projected to be sold by the end of 2009, outside of Japan and Korea, Nokia is the leader with sales of the S60 likely to reach 300m, followed by Windows Mobile and iPhone at 40m, RIM at around 25m and Google around 5m..

“What is clear is that mobile marketers need to better understand their users,” says Anderson. “Our Bango mobile analytics provides analysis of mobile visitors, mobile site activity and marketing campaigns, with detailed metrics including unique visitor count, country, network and handset of each user. This helps brands to make the best decisions about future mobile investments and get closer to their customers.

Check out Bango’s blog to read why Ray Anderson, CEO of Bango feels the iPhone didn’t make the top 20 handset listing (http://blog.bango.com/2009/03/30/iphone-not-the-only-game-in-town/).

Bango mobile analytics is a hosted service and anyone can sign up for a 30 day trial at http://bango.com/products/analytics/default.aspx

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17 Responses to iPhone: Not a top 20 handset for browsing and buying on the mobile web

  1. T Lockhart says:

    The iPhone would not normally show up as browsing mobile content as it is designed to browse “normal” site content. Unless a page has been coded to detect mobile Safari, the iPhone will browse the standard HTML/xHTML pages. Most web developers are aware that mobile Safari handles their pre-existing HTML/xHTML just fine (the whole point of the iPhone experience) so do not bother trying to detect the presence of mobile Safari. Hence, the conclusion of this analysis is flawed, at best.

  2. Sarah Keefe says:

    The iPhone does an “OK” job of rendering websites but its not perfect. For example it does not handle Flash, and you can’t follow links that lead to the download of content or files.

    For that reason, many sites are producing specially adapted sites for the iPhone. Look at how much better phone.facebook.com is than facebook.com – in fact doesn’t Apple have an iPhone specific version of parts of apple.com?

    Bango’s analytics are used by businesses wanting to extend the reach of their services or make them better for their users. Our data points out that there are hundreds of millions of users out there with browsers that are NOT iPhones – so there is an opportunity to server them better.

    Sarah Keefe, VP Marketing at Bango

  3. Mike O'Hanlon says:

    So, just to clarify, the iPhone is not a top 20 handset for browsing and buying on the portion of the mobile web that is tracked by Bongo, not on the mobile web in general, is that correct?

  4. Sarah Keefe says:

    Yes, that’s correct Mike. Here’s Andy Favell at mobiThinking’s take on this:

    But aren’t Bango and AdMob just measuring visitors to their customers’ sites?

    That’s true, the view of both is restricted to their customers’ sites, which are concentrated in the US and European markets (both core markets for the iPhone), but they are recognized leaders in their fields, with large customer bases, so have a better perspective than most.

    More at http://mobithinking.com/blog/nice-iphone-application-why-ignore-vast-majority-mobile-customers

    Sarah Keefe, VP Marketing at Bango

  5. Mike O'Hanlon says:

    Then I would think that one would be wise to declare that fact in their headline rather then make it appear that the statement applies to the web as a whole, don’t you agree?

  6. Mike O'Hanlon says:

    “iPhone: Not a Top 20 Handset for browsing and buying on segments of the mobile web” – over-cumbersome? – long? No, not really. Certainly more truthful. Certainly less likely to attract attention. I’m not saying that the marketing message is wrong, because it obviously is bringing attention to Bango. I’m just thinking that you are targeting the wrong audience. Better to focus on the positives of your excellent service than the negatives of a premier provider.

  7. Spam Not says:

    Isn’t the real question this: “which are the top-20 devices according to actual spending amounts?” — Yes, there may be all sorts of devices out there (over 1800, by your count, right?), and they may indeed be used to make some purchases, but I would guess that most are older and less powerful, and also less expensive than the iPhone, and may reflect less purchasing intention or power. If you could associate how much spending is associated with each kind of device, and rank your results accordingly, you would provide your clients with much more useful information. My guess is that people who use the iPhone are more likely to make larger purchases, while people who use more numerous devices may just be purchasing an occasional ringtone, and that’s all.

  8. Sarah Keefe says:

    Mike, let me just clarify the size of the study. The stats come from the month of February when we had 1.1 million unique visitors browsed to mobile websites as monitored by our Bango Analytics service (customers include the Financial Times and MTV) and bought mobile content and services using our Bango Payment service (customers include Thumbplay, Buongiorno, Gameloft, EA Games).

    This sample size is certainly considerably larger than trials carried out by comScore and others. The reason why we decided to publishing this data is we have come across brands and businesses who genuinely believe that having an iPhone optimized site is all they need to have a mobile strategy. With global penetration of the iPhone at 1% according to Gartner, you can clearly see why a strategy like this is flawed. We wanted to add weight to argument that you are missing out on the mass market if you just focus on the iPhone.

    Personally, I have an iPhone and love it so our intention was not to hit out at a premier provider as Apple is. There’s more detail at http://blog.bango.com where you can see what I mean. Hope that helps.

    Sarah Keefe, VP Marketing, Bango

  9. Sarah Keefe says:

    Spam not,
    It would be interesting to see how spending varies by handset, about 75% of the 1.1 million people we saw in Feb did not purchase any content so the Top 20 handset chart you see does not just reflect those who bought content.

    Don’t think I’ll be very popular when I ask our Database guru to run the SQL query to find out average spend on each handset. I’d love to know though 😉 Anecdotally, people with lower priced handsets can be surprisingly high spenders as they are often in a younger demographic with high disposable income (probably no mortgage!)
    Cheers, Sarah Keefe

  10. Pete Callaway says:

    “bought mobile content and services using our Bango Payment service (customers include Thumbplay, Buongiorno, Gameloft, EA Games)”

    If iPhone users have to buy mobile content from providers like Gameloft and EA via the App Store , I’m surprised they showed up in your stats at all


  11. Sarah Keefe says:


    The stats we published was for both mobile web browsing and payments. We do see iPhones browsing the mobile web plus some payments because you can pay for an info service of some sort and still access the service – what you can’t do outside of the app store is download content to your phone.


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  13. David Thurman says:


    I think your report is telling and I think speaks to the “power” mobi user, with many iPhone sales more for the casual user, and the “other” smartphone group, which if you think this over is on all the other carrier markets, and not locked to ATT (20-25% – 75-80% market shares), could be more open to browsing the web, and not hanging out at social/Apple App type sites.

    Personally, all the iPhone folks in our company, hardly surf the web, use it more for ph, txt, email, Facebook, as were those of use on others devices, Blackberry’s, HTC TP, LG’s etc, seem to be more focused on information retrieval. Maybe we are the exception?

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