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Photo Messages Set to Edge Out Postcards During the Summer Holidays

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comScore has published the latest figures from the M Metrics Benchmark Study which reports that photo messaging from mobile phones has grown 60 percent in the United States over the past year and 16 percent in Europe, where photo messaging got an earlier start. As the mercury climbs in the summer months, so does the usage of photo messaging in the United States, where for the past three years, photo messaging rates have been higher than average in July and August.

"Summer vacations provide the perfect context for photo messaging, as the utility of instantly sharing a holiday moment with loved ones is undeniably compelling," commented Mark Donovan, senior vice president, comScore Mobile Products. "The cameraphone could replace the postcard as the preferred mode to say €˜wish you were here,' as even parents and grandparents are snapping and sending photos from their mobile devices."

In Europe, where photo messaging is more mature, usage rates are more consistent throughout the year, rising only slightly in summer. From 2006 to 2007, the rate of photo messaging use in Europe during the month of July was average and in August, 7 percent higher than average. Instead, usage spikes during December, as families share Christmas holiday celebrations and send photos from their newly acquired phones. The same phenomenon is also observed in the United States, where photo messaging is also higher in December than it is in an average month.

The M:Metrics Benchmark Study indicates that the photo messaging growth in the U.S. is coming from all age demographic segments, with the fastest growth coming from teens and those older than 35. In the more developed European market, the strongest growth is coming from those aged 55 years and older.

"Cameraphones are in the hands of the majority of mobile phone users and are increasingly a part of the fabric of peoples' lives, with 78 percent of Europeans and 66 percent of Americans owning a cameraphone today," said Donovan. "Photo messaging rates have risen steadily month over month with nearly a quarter of all American mobile phone users and about a third of Europeans sending or receiving photos in April."

M:Metrics Benchmark Study

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Tags: comscore  cameraphone