U.S. Mobile Map Audience Grows 39 Percent in Past Year as Fixed-Internet Map Audience Softens Slightly

*Smartphone Adoption Leads to Doubling of Map App Audience*

RESTON, VA, July 18, 2011 – comScore, Inc., a leader in measuring the digital world, today released results of a U.S. study of mobile map usage based on data from its comScore MobiLens service. The study found that 48 million mobile users accessed maps on their mobile device during the three month average period ending May 2011, an increase of 39 percent from the previous year, driven in large part by the increase in smartphone adoption. The study found that map usage via mobile applications was the primary access point for smartphone owners as the map app audience doubled in size over the past year.

More Americans Turning to Mobile to Find Their Way

More than 48 million mobile users accessed maps on their device in May, marking an increase of 39 percent from the previous year. A comparative look at map usage among fixed-Internet users (i.e. accessing from a home or work computer) found that map visitation saw a slight decline in total audience in May 2011 versus the previous year, dipping 2 percent, while still maintaining a substantially larger audience of 93.8 million visitors.

“The strong growth in mobile map usage and flattening of desktop map usage is indicative of broader behavioral shifts being wrought by smartphones,” said Mark Donovan, comScore senior vice president of mobile. “For years, consumers have been able to check directions on their desktop computers prior to leaving their home or office, now smartphones allow people to skip this step and access maps on the go, as they need them, showing off one of the most powerful capabilities of mobile — just-in-time-information.”

Map Category Audience for Mobile and Fixed Internet Access
Source: comScore, Inc.
Total Audience (000)
May-2010 May-2011 % Change
Fixed Internet*: Map Access 95,579 93,817 -2%
All Mobile**: Map Access 34,675 48,099 39%

*Source: comScore Media Metrix, May 2011 vs. May 2010, Total U.S. Audience Home/Work Locations
**Source: comScore MobiLens, 3 month average ending May 2011 vs. May 2010, Total U.S. Mobile Audience Age 13+

Map App Audience Doubles

The number of smartphone map users (which accounted for 4 out of every 5 mobile map users) reached 38.2 million in May, an increase of 75 percent from the previous year and outpacing the total smartphone audience growth of 57 percent. Applications represented the primary access point for approximately two-thirds of smartphone map users (up 98 percent), while browser map access was about half as popular as apps and grew at half the rate.

Smartphone Browser and Application Usage for Map Access
3 Month Avg. Ending May 2011 vs. 3 Month Avg. Ending May 2010
Total U.S. Age 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens
Total Audience (000)
May-2010 May-2011 % Change
Total Smartphone 21,873 38,208 75%
Accessed Maps via Application 13,036 25,815 98%
Accessed Maps via Mobile Browser 9,187 13,712 49%

Americans Most Likely to Access Mobile Maps from Vehicles

Among all mobile users (smartphone and feature phone) who accessed maps on their mobile devices, 88.9 percent did so from a car or other vehicle, with 16.9 percent doing so while walking, running or biking, and 13.6 percent while using public transit. The most utilized types of maps were graphical maps with turn-by-turn directions (64.0 percent of mobile maps users), followed by 48.3 percent using a graphical map without turn-by-turn directions and 46.0 percent using turn-by-turn directions without a graphical map.

Mobile Map Usage by Mode of Travel and Type of Map for Total Mobile Audience (Smartphone and Feature Phone)
3 Month Avg. Ending May 2011
Total U.S. Age 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens
% of Mobile Users Accessing Maps
Mode of Travel Used or Intended to be Used When Accessing Maps:* 100.0%
Driving or riding in a car or other vehicle 88.9%
Walking or running or biking 16.9%
Using public transit 13.6%
Type of Map or Directions Accessed: *
Graphical map with turn by turn directions 64.0%
Graphical map without turn by turn directions 48.3%
Turn by turn directions without graphical map 46.0%

*Percentages will not sum to 100% as respondents may select more than one mode of transport or type of map accessed

*Source: comScore

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