Orange says UK mobile users prefer browsers to apps

UK mobile users are more likely to access content on their mobiles through a browser, rather than a mobile app.

Research by Orange and TNS shows that 70% of UK consumers prefer browsers to apps, and women are more likely to use a mobile browser than men.

The Orange Mobile Exposure 2010 report comes as Orange launches its new campaign planning tool for advertisers, the Mobile Targeting Monitor (OMTM).

The product, from Orange Advertising Network, uses data from Orange’s research across a range of industry sectors, offering marketeers analysis and campaign insights on mobile media usage, purchasing and social behaviour, preferred mobile media formats and mobile opportunities.

Paul Francois Fournier, executive vice president of online and advertising business, says: “Brands and media companies have a clear opportunity to use mobile to further engage with consumers as part of a holistic media mix, whether it is a capturing conversation around a TV show or a retail brand integrating the mobile and online shopping experience with location-based capabilities,”

The research, which interviewed 2,000 mobile media users in the UK, France, Spain and Poland, showed browser usage is most prominent in the UK, with 7 out of 10 mobile media users choosing to find information and content in this way, instead of using mobile apps.

Readers' comments (4)

  • Fair point... but I think that's because the apps don't offer the functionality you get from the browser. Look at Facebook, Twitter, Linked In etc. You get a much better experience (and more detail) via the browser than you do through the App - which tends to be stripped down to the 'essentials'.

    Get the app right and this may change

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  • Have they looked at phones that have a high App penetration? I.e. the IPhone - I bet customers spend more time online via an App than via safari without evening knowing it.

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  • More and more brands and service providers are developing enhanced web-based applications that have been optimised for the iPhone in their pursuit of deeper and broader interaction with potential customers.

    However, as this research shows it is dangerous to place all your fruit in Apple’s basket as ‘more UK mobile users prefer browsers to apps’. If companies are to truly optimise their web/WAP presence and realise significant gains, then their applications need to be rendered on all smartphone devices including Windows Mobile devices, Android devices, Blackberries and bespoke handsets. Failure to achieve this will result in disgruntled end users and cannibalised revenue streams.

    Don’t ignore iPhone users, by any means; just be aware that Apple is not the only fruit in the store. Maximising the potential of the increasingly important mobile channel means being as inclusive as possible and supporting the maximum number of platform options from a single marketing development investment.

    Early innovators have the market to play for, as few brands have yet to exploit the mobile medium to maximum effect. There is no doubt about the future potential of this increasingly dynamic channel; the challenge is to yield full commercial advantage by being aligned with all of the opportunities as they emerge, which means being ready for anything. Dancing only to Apple’s tune is to limit that scope significantly.

    Gary Corbett
    Oxygen8 Communications

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  • Dear all,
    Thanks for your comments on the research! The same split appears when we looked at Smartphone or Iphone users, i.e. browser is (slightly) predominant compared to apps. The relationships is inverse in Poland where the market is not mature.
    You can download the report here:

    Bruce Hoang
    Head of int'l media research

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