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Americans Spend More Than 4.5 Hours per Month Browsing on Smartphones

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Social networking and Internet commerce are compelling smartphone users to spend an average of four hours and thirty eight minutes per month browsing the mobile Web in the United States and two and a half hours per month in Britain, reports M Metrics.

According to March data from the measurement firm's metered smartphone panel, active mobile Web users in the United States spent an average of one hour and thirty-nine minutes in the month browsing Craigslist on their smartphone, the longest duration of any site among the top twenty domains visited. In the United Kingdom, Facebook commanded the most time spent browsing in the month, with visitors dedicating an average of one hour and forty-five minutes using the site, which is also drawing in users in America. There, Facebook ranks fourth in terms of time spent browsing, after eBay and MySpace, with Disney's Go.com rounding out the top five. In the UK, the remaining top sites by browsing time are the mobile operator 3's portal, Sky TV, Microsoft's Live and BBC.

"People are becoming increasingly engaged in the mobile medium," said Mark Donovan, senior analyst, M:Metrics. "Among smartphone users in the United States, mobile browsing has increased 89 percent year over year, and pageviews have increased 127 percent. Consumption is quickly evolving from brief transactions, such as checking the weather or flight status, to time-intensive interaction with mobile Web sites - even without an iPhone."

"A primary factor in the discrepancy in the duration of time spent browsing between British and American smartphone users is the relative popularity of flat-rate data plans in the United States, where 10.9 percent of users have an unlimited data plan versus only 2.3 percent in Britain," commented Paul Goode, senior analyst, M:Metrics from the firm's London bureau. "Other factors to consider are the popularity of devices with QWERTY keyboards in the United States -- where nine of the ten top smartphones are QWERTY, while the inverse is true in the UK -- and the greater penetration of smartphones in the British market."

Even so, mobile social networking sites are running up the meters in the United Kingdom. Each day they visited the site, Facebook users spent an average of about 19 minutes, compared to an average of 15 minutes for Microsoft Live visitors, 10 minutes for mobile operator 3's portal visitors, 14 minutes for Sky TV and nine minutes for BBC visitors.

In the United States, on the days they visited each site, consumers spent an average of 22 minutes on Craigslist, 29 minutes on eBay, 16 minutes on MySpace, 14 minutes on Facebook and 18 minutes on Go.com.

This data is derived from actual user behaviors among those with Windows, Symbian and Palm handsets. M:Metrics uses on-device metering technologies to capture the mobile browsing and messaging activities among its panel of 3,500 smartphone users in the United States and the United Kingdom.

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