Mobile Internet spawning new growth opportunities in the convergence era
Mobile devices are rapidly becoming the primary medium to access the Internet across age groups, and across mature and emerging markets. In a world brimming with smarter smartphones, tablets, notebooks and other affordable Web-enabled mobile devices, and powered by better network coverage, faster broadband connections, Wi-Fi networks and the explosive growth of mobile apps, the demand for ubiquitous availability of Internet is only getting stronger. Little wonder then that there is so much excitement around every new version of a smartphone or tablet.
A survey conducted by Accenture on Internet access through mobile devices confirms that mobile Internet usage continues to be on a sharp upward trajectory. Indeed, it has now reached the stage when market players across communications, media and technology should look forward to business opportunities and the operational efficiencies of a mass market. That is, if they are prepared for it. The survey, conducted across 13 countries in Europe, Latin America and South Africa, brings to the fore five key trends in the digital consumer’s behavior that have implications not only for players in telecommunications, media and technology, but also for those in other industries such as retail, utilities and automotives. A key finding of the survey is that a majority of Internet users connected to the Internet with a mobile device in the past one year, with smartphones emerging as the most popular mobile Internet access medium. In fact, activities or transactions on mobile Internet have become so much a part of daily life that those who don’t own a mobile Web-enabled device intend to buy one soon. A growing number of mobile Internet users are using their mobile devices to receive and send e-mails, connect on online communities or for instant messaging. The survey identifies usability and mobile apps as the primary drivers of mobile Internet use, with a higher proportion of users having downloaded programs and apps on their mobile devices in the past one year
Consumers are now more willing than ever before to pay for premium services. The survey also identifies mobile payments as a significant growth avenue with growing use and awareness of these services. The opportunity in augmented reality services is huge with half the mobile Internet users surveyed expressing interest or planning to use these services in the future. In fact, a large segment are even willing to pay for cloud services. A key driver of mobile Internet usage has been significant improvements in network quality and coverage over the years—the user’s primary criterion in selecting a service provider. The survey highlights how consumers are increasingly looking for superior Internet experience on their mobile devices, similar to what they are used to on their computer or television. While on-the-go online services, such as news, traffic and travel information, and banking are of the highest importance to mobile Internet users, concerns regarding data security persist, especially for those using or considering the use of cloud services. With users expressing annoyance with online advertising, marketing companies will need to focus on more targeted advertising. In the following pages, we explore these findings in greater detail and discuss the implications they may have for companies looking at seizing the opportunity arising out of the growing use of mobile Internet.
Core Findings • Growing use of mobile Internet South Africa and Brazil were ranked as the highest users accessing the Internet on mobile devices while France, Germany and Finland were among the lowest. • Narrowing gender gap 73 percent of men among the respondents accessed the Internet on a mobile device as compared with 66 percent of women. • More personal than work-related use 58 percent of the respondents accessing the Web on a smartphone did so for personal matters as against 20 percent doing so for work-related matters. • Finally the world is always on 85 percent use their mobile device to access the Internet once a day or more. Of those accessing online communities, Twitter or mobile blogging, over 80 percent do so more than once a week. • Gen X showing growing appetite for mobile over Internet A little over 80 percent of those in 14-29 age bracket accessed the Internet on a mobile device, but at least 45 percent of those above the age of 50 were also involved in such activities. • There is an app for everything More than 60 percent used their mobile device to access online communities such as Facebook, while mobile banking growth is also evident with 46 percent using a mobile device to conduct a banking transaction. In total, 71 percent of mobile Internet users have downloaded programs or apps on their mobile device. • Videos on mobile grabbing eyeballs 57 percent of the users downloaded or viewed short videos of less than five minutes. • Quality is king Quality of the network is an important criterion in choosing a network provider for access to the Internet over a mobile device while cost of data is ranked as the fourth-most important factor. • Data security concerns impede mass adoption 70 percent of mobile Internet users are worried about data security while 23 percent perceive the monthly cost of accessing the Internet on their mobile device to be higher than expected. • Opportunity to monetize new services. 87 percent of respondents are interested in premium technical services, and 78 percent in consumer cloud services. Respondents would be willing to pay to benefit from them, with over half of respondents willing to pay up to $10.
Internet through mobile devices poised to outpace access from stationary devices?
The mobile Internet, the popularity of which is evident in the buzz generated around every new mobile phone or tablet, is close to being a mass market. An average of 69 percent of Internet users connected to the Web with a mobile device in the past 12 months. Of these, 61 percent used smartphones for accessing the Internet. Among non mobile Internet users, 46 percent expressed interested in buying a Web-enabled mobile device in the future. This as an increasing number of innovative touchscreen models with great image resolution, faster Internet access and attractive built-in social media and mobile payment apps are hitting the market every day.
The increasing use of mobile Internet is relevant across all age groups. Of the 61 percent of respondents who used smartphones for accessing the Internet, more than 70 percent were in the younger age group (between 14 and 39 years). Interestingly, approximately 45 percent of those above the age of 50 used their smartphones for Internet-related activities.. While the overall upward trend is evident across all the countries that were surveyed, the emerging markets of Brazil, South Africa and Russia showed the highest adoption of smartphones (above 70 percent on average) for Internet use. The rising popularity of smartphones in Brazil, South Africa and Russia for Internet use is in line with developments in other emerging markets such as India. These countries, with a dearth of fixed lines, have been witnessing a mobile phone revolution of hyper growth for some years now, fuelled in part, by declining costs—both of devices and subscription rates—and a growing wealthy middle class. The widespread lack of personal computers, relatively more expensive than mobile phones, meant that for many people, the mobile phone would be the first entry into the Internet world.