SYDNEY: Consumers in Australia are engaging in an increasingly diverse range of activities using their mobile phones, new figures show.

AIMIA, the trade body, surveyed 2,115 adults, and found 49% of interviewees either already have a tablet or would like to buy one in the coming 12 months.

Some 45% of people possessing a gadget such as the iPad were in the 26-41 year old age group, and another 40% were older than this audience.

Two-thirds of respondents also stated that they owned a smartphone, a total that AIMIA suggested may have been inflated due to different definitions employed by the industry and by consumers.

More specifically, 32% of participants had purchased Apple's iPhone, while 28% boasted a handset made by Nokia, ahead of Samsung's 13%, HTC's 8%, Sony Ericsson's 5% and LG's 4%.

Currently, 83% of contributors use their phone for reasons beyond making voice calls and sending text messages, including 51% browsing the web at least once a week, up from 35% in 2010.

Half of the panel used search engines on wireless devices with the same frequency, versus the comparative 31% generated in 2010.

Email, however, remains the most popular mobile media channel, enjoying a 55% uptake rate, slightly bettering social networking's 53%, while instant messaging was further back on 26%.

An additional 25% of subscribers accessed mobile banking services every seven days or more, and 20% utilised these devices to make payments on a similar basis.

Elsewhere, 55% of individuals questioned had downloaded an app to their phone during the six months before the study, an increase from the 41% logged in 2010.

Turning to marketing, 40% of the sample had signed up to receive messages from businesses, with 44% of this group getting updates from banks, beating 32% for retailers other than department stores, 21% for beauty brands and 16% for travel agents.

Less favourably, 60% of people had never bought something following an exposure to a mobile ad, although 15% purchased items after viewing brand messages more than 5% of the time.

Data sourced from AIMIA; additional content by Warc staff