How Smartphone Use in the US Fuelled the Growth of Online Entertainment

By  //  May 13, 2022

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In the past 20 years, mobile phone usage has increased exponentially around the world, with sales rising from 120 million units in 2007 to over 1.5 billion in 2021. This drastic increase in mobile device use results from countless factors, including a general improvement in internet connections, relevant progress in mobile computing and smartphone performance, and the expansion of smartphone features.

In the United States alone it is estimated that there are more than 290 million smartphone users, with over 85% of American adults using these types of devices.

This makes the US the third biggest smartphone market in the world, just behind India and China. As a result, the global smartphone industry is growing on average at a rate of 16.4% each year. Annual revenues are also at an all-time high, with the US market generating $55.6 billion in earnings annually. 

However, the impact of smartphone usage isn’t limited to the mobile industry, the mass dissemination of mobile devices has led to a shift in the patterns of internet use. In other words, the growing use of smartphones has effectively changed our relationship with the internet. As of 2022, the majority of internet users worldwide (57.38%) access the internet using mobile devices.

If we consider the US market, the latest reports indicate that 2022 will mark the first year in which mobile internet usage will surpass that of desktops. Essentially, this means that users have become not only more reliant on mobile devices for web browsing, but also that large sections of the internet have shifted their focus to mobile experiences, app development, and on-the-go content.

Mobile devices shape online entertainment industry

In the past ten years, the US online service market has begun heavily focusing on mobile devices. The increasing number of users accessing all types of platforms using their phones and tablets has not only fuelled the growth of several industries, including mobile gaming, social media, streaming platforms, and e-commerce, but it has also reshaped online experiences. 

Take mobile gaming and gambling as an example. Ten years ago, consoles and PCs were at the heart of gaming and, when it came to online gaming, Facebook games were some of the most popular on the internet. Nowadays, the scenario has radically changed, consoles and PC games have become a more niche industry, offering high-quality experiences, but existing in a parallel universe in relation to smartphone gaming, while Facebook games have migrated elsewhere or disappeared due to the rise of smartphones.

The same is also true when it comes to online gambling, casino platforms have not abandoned their desktop versions, but they have heavily invested in mobile apps and innovative gaming experiences. For instance, casino games can now be conveniently and interactively played using mobile apps that even feature live casinos.

This type of online game is streamed in real-time from professional studios with real dealers conducting the games. These live experiences have become so popular that users can even access guides on the best new live casino in Canada, or any other country in order to take advantage of the best deals out there, such as free spins and welcome bonuses.

Simultaneously, video and audio consumption also innovated significantly. These industries have moved away from an ownership logic and entered a new phase where video on demand and audio streaming is the new norm in the audiovisual industry. This is mostly due to the rise of smartphones and mobile streaming.

When it comes to audio streaming it is undeniable that platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music have entirely replaced portable media players and other audio devices, making music accessible everywhere at all times. But that’s not all, subscription streaming services, namely Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video have also contributed to and benefited from the rise of smartphones.

This is particularly true when considering that Netflix focuses on offering users the possibility of downloading shows to watch on the go and offline. 

Overall, media consumption has radically shifted towards mobile devices, with a large majority of video consumption occurring in smartphones. Of course, this also includes the way we access news, read books, and access other video-based social media, with a particular emphasis on YouTube.

Ultimately, it is easy to understand how smartphones have not only contributed to reshaping traditional sectors within the entertainment industry, but also played a crucial part in the rise of new and innovative ways to access all types of content. Going into the future, it is expected that smartphones will gain even more relevance in all industries related to digital media and internet-based operations.