SYDNEY: Smartphone users in Australia are engaging in an increasingly diverse range of activities via these devices, a study has shown.

Google, the online giant, partnered with research firm Ipsos to survey 30,000 people worldwide, and broke out data for smartphone subscribers in Australia.

Based on the findings, it was estimated that 37% of Australians currently own a smartphone, only trailing Singapore on this measure, and a total projected to hit 50% by the end of 2011.

"Australians are buying more smartphones, faster, than the rest of the world - and they're using them more, too," Jason Pellegrino, head of mobile ads, Google Australia and New Zealand, said

Overall, 81% of this group used their handset at home during the week before the poll, falling to 66% when subscribers were on the move.

Elsewhere, 46% of this audience utilised their phone at the same time as watching TV, standing at 33% for concurrent media use with another web-enabled device, and 19% when also reading a print title.

In a normal week, 75% of smartphone owners access a search engine via this route - with 40% doing so every day - while 71% browse the web in this way, and 31% stream video content.

A 26% share of the panel had bought something through their phone, and 17% had changed a purchase decision as a result of research or similar mobile activity conducted in stores.

The study also revealed 42% of Australian respondents downloaded applications, with the typical user accessing 25 such tools, including eight that they paid for, a figure surpassing the score of 23 posted by the US and UK.

An 87% majority of the sample recalled noticing a mobile ad and 33% took action as a result of this exposure, like entering a relevant search enquiry, using a related app or going to a retail website.

In-house data from Google showed clickthrough rates rose by 80% in mobile-specific ad campaigns, but the company further reported that 79% of Australia's top advertisers do not yet have a website optimised for this channel.

When asked to choose between giving up their TV or smartphone, 20% of contributors opted to keep the latter, the Google/Ipsos study added.

Data sourced from Google; additional content by Warc staff