Popularity of video calling set to explode, NPD says

Video calling has been extremely slow to catch on, but adoption is finally set to explode according to a recent forecast from NPD Group-owned market research firm In-Stat. According to the firm’s figures, 63 million people could be counted as active video calling users in 2010. In 2015, that number is expected to balloon to 380 million. “While the mobile arena is relatively nascent, it has fueled much of the growth in usage over the course of 2011,” In-Stat analyst Amy Cravens said in a statement. PCs will remain the most popular platform for video calling, but the technology’s expansion to smartphones, tablets and even televisions will also play a role in accelerating adoption. Connectivity is key on mobile devices though, and smartphone-based video calling experiences leave much to be desired due to shaky cellular connections. The rapid rollout of 4G LTE networks around the world should help to improve the mobile video calling experience dramatically, however. NPD In-Stat’s full press release follows below.

Video Calling to Surpass 380 Million Active Users by 2015, Says NPD In-Stat

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., November 29, 2011—Video calling is a communication service that has become fairly common in the PC market but has recently expanded to other screens, including mobile devices and TVs. While many of the players cross over between screen-types, the dynamics in each market are quite unique. Still, all are expected to experience significant growth. New NPD In-Stat (www.instat.com) research forecasts the total number of active video calling users will surpass 380 million in 2015, a monumental increase from 63 million in 2010.

“While the mobile arena is relatively nascent, it has fueled much of the growth in usage over the course of 2011,” according to Amy Cravens, Senior Analyst. “The entry of players with significant market presence has been critical in pushing mass adoption in mobile video calling. Currently, the living room market is still quite small; however, In-Stat expects to see significant developments in this market in the coming years.”

Key analysis includes:

  • PC video calling will continue to account for the majority of video calling minutes throughout the forecast period.
  • Skype is the market leader in video calling solutions across screen types: PC, mobile, and TV.
  • Integration with other applications, particularly social networking, will be a significant market driver.
  • Active usage rates vary significantly across screen types.

New NPD In-Stat research, Video Calling Across Screen Types: PC, Mobile, and Living Room (#IN1105253MCM), provides an end-to-end review of the video calling market from screen type through end-user survey results of usage data. In addition, this latest research provides the following:

  • Consumer usage patterns by screen type including adoption, frequency, and duration of call
  • Relevance of distribution models by screen type and significant relationships
  • Analysis of market drivers and barriers
  • Impact of other communication applications, such as social networking,
  • Forecast of active users and minutes of usage by screen type and region
  • Profile of leading and emerging video calling providers including, AOL AV, Apple FaceTime, fring, Google Chat and Hangouts, Microsoft Kinect, ooVoo, Raketu, Skype, and Tango.
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