Recently, I've been editing some reports on how consumers are using their mobile phones and how that has changed in the past couple of years. We only have to think back to the Nokia 6510 or Motorola flip phones that we were using a few years ago to see how the introduction of smartphones has changed our world. In many countries, people spend more time texting and doing other data-related activities on their phone than using it for actual voice calls.

And in many countries, the impact of mobile uptake and its evolution has been even bigger and more different than in the US and Europe. In the West, mobiles are often an addition to a PC or game console; in many developing countries, a mobile phone is the only device that most consumers own. This is reflected in the activities for which they use their mobile. For example, Forrester's Technographics® studies — involving 333,000 respondents in 18 countries — shows that Indian, Chinese, and Mexican mobile phone owners use their phones more to listen to music and play games than their European and US counterparts. [Note: this graphic shows selected activities from a list of possible activities]

Widespread mobile ownership and the great uptake of and interest in mobile activities offer great opportunities for companies. Let’s take Metropolitan China as an example: It has the highest incidence of Forrester’s Mobile Technographics “Connectors” segment — individuals who are productivity-oriented and use their mobile phones at least 25% of the time for work. As four out of 10 of Metropolitan Chinese respondents fall into this category, there are opportunities to engage this audience with mobile technologies that cater to their productive needs.