Youth and Upscale Consumers Want an M-Lifestyle

The fate of the wireless Internet revolution may rest on the shoulders of consumers under age 25, and upscale users who will drive demand for 3G, according to findings by Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS).

The research firm predicts that marketers who concentrate on the youth and affluent population segments will have the greatest chance of capturing the wireless Internet market. The report hypothesizes that marketers can deliver these branded offerings by forming strategic alliances with businesses that provide networks, content, hardware and/or software. For those marketers whose core competencies are in consumer insights, new-product development and branding, the potential is huge and virtually untapped.

“Any company that wants to maximize the impact of 3G must rigorously follow a market focussed, consumer-centric approach,” said Chandra Chaterji,senior vice president of Taylor Nelson Sofres Global Information Technology Practice. “The key question should be ‘How can we leverage our brand to market a bundle of products or services employing mobile networks?'”

The completed report is based on global studies conducted by the firm, with analysis about mobile phone penetration, mobile phone usage and consumer market structure in 33 countries in North America, Eastern and Western Europe, East and South Asia and the Asia Pacific region.

Based on the collected data, TNS was able to determine that mobile phone penetration patterns do not follow regional or geographic boundaries, and the devices are currently used most for voice and text message communication. Also, consumers are lukewarm to the idea of WAP phones and 3G networks. However, users will give permission for 3G devices most readily in the communication and information areas followed by the financial applications of m-payments, m-banking, and m-trading. There also appears to be many niche applications, such as chat rooms, forums, etc.

High Interest in Applications of 3G
(Among Current Internet Users/Mobile Phone Owners)
Western Europe Eastern Europe USA
Total 22% 26% 25%
Under 25 37% 30% 45%
25 to 34 27% 26% 26%
35 to 49 19% 25% 27%
50 and over 9% 24% 10%
(“High Interest” based upon a six-point interest scale, where ratings of 5 and 6 indicate high interest.)
Source: Taylor Nelson Sofres

Interest in Applications of 3G
(Among Current Internet Users/Mobile Phone Owners Interested in 3G)
Western Europe Eastern Europe USA
Emails 4.5 4.7 4.3
City maps/directions 4.3 4.2 4.2
Latest news 4.0 4.4 4.0
Authorize/enable payment 3.4 3.8 3.0
Banking/trading online 3.5 3.4 3.2
Downloading music 3.1 3.4 3.2
Shopping/reservations 3.0 3.1 2.9
Animated images 2.4 2.7 2.6
Chat rooms, forums 2.3 2.9 2.2
Interactive games 2.0 2.2 2.4
Games for money 1.8 1.8 1.8
(Means based upon a six-point interest scale, where 6 indicates high interest and 1 indicates low interest.)
Source: Taylor Nelson Sofres

A report from
A.T. Kearney and Cambridge University9s Judge Institute of Management corroborates many of the TNS findings, including:

  • Usage of WAP remains low, and the newer adopters of WAP phones are not using the WAP capability
  • There are significant growth opportunities in text messaging in Asia and the U.S.
  • Intent to make purchases via the mobile phone continues to decline outside of Japan.
  • Current usage of m-cash is low but awareness and intent are high.

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