Despite the avalanche of mobile apps that let people access local information, the mobile browser is still the king when it comes to finding out what’s going on in your city or neighborhood. People across the board are using their mobile phones to look up local info. ComScore reported today that the number of people in the U.S. who sought local content on mobile devices grew 51 percent from March 2008 to March 2009. The report also shows that the mobile browser is the most popular way consumers find local information, with 20.7 million browser users in March 2009, up 34 percent versus a year ago. Only about half as many people (11.3 million) use downloaded apps to find local data.
But downloaded apps did exhibit the strongest growth, up 83 percent versus a year ago. I’m sure the growth of the iPhone had something to do with that. What’s interesting is that despite the popularity of local content apps like those from Yelp and CitySearch, apps still remain the least popular method for mobile access of local information, with 11.3 million users in March. ComScore says that slightly more consumers use SMS for obtaining local information (11.7 million users) than apps, but the browser is still by far the most popular way for consumers to find info on local restaurants, bars, businesses and more.
Drilling down into the local content categories, the number of people accessing online directories has seen the greatest increase during the past year (73 %), followed by restaurants (70 %), maps (63 %) and movies (60%).