Mobile payments—a growth engine
Telecom players, payment gateway companies and enterprises need to note the growth potential in mobile payments. While only 16 percent of smartphone and tablet users are currently using mobile payment services, 74 percent are aware of such services and an additional 39 percent indicated they would be interested or plan to use mobile payment apps. Indeed, mobile banking (m-banking) features quite high among the more favored mobile Internet activities. The survey shows that 46 percent of the respondents have used their mobile device for banking transactions. Banks are also increasingly adding the mobile platform to their mix of distribution channels to meet the growing demand for mobility. Not surprisingly, marketplace estimates put the number of m-banking users globally at 500 million by 2010.
Augmented reality The improved navigation features, lower data costs and availability of a range of apps are convincing digital consumers about the value addition of using mobile Internet. New and developing areas such as Near Field Communications and augmented reality services are set to push mobile Internet usage to a whole new level altogether. The Accenture survey hints at that possibility with the finding that across the 13 countries it surveyed, 17 percent of the smartphone and tablet users are using augmented reality services and a further 50 percent indicated they would be interested or plan to use such services soon. Overall, 23 percent of the respondents in emerging markets are using augmented reality services against 14 percent in mature markets. The intended adoption in the next 12 months will further widen this gap, with 26 percent of the respondents in emerging markets saying they plan to use these services as against 20 percent in mature markets.
A majority of the mobile Internet users (59 percent) are aware of cloud and data storage services and are currently using or are planning to use these services (56 percent). Moreover, 78 percent of respondents who are interested in consumer cloud services would be ready to pay for these. As expected, there is higher awareness of consumer cloud services among the younger generation: 66 percent of those below 30 are aware of them, and close to half of them are either using these services already or plan to do so in the near future. Surprisingly, 50 percent of those above 50 are also aware of cloud services and 23 percent are either using them or plan to do so. Awareness of cloud services is marginally higher in emerging markets (64 percent) than in mature market markets (57 percent); the adoption rate is also expected to be far higher in emerging countries with half of our respondents saying they are either using or intend to use these services in the future, as compared to 33 percent in mature markets. But the high cost in availing cloud services is proving to be a major barrier to cloud adoption. Over half of those interested in cloud services in mature markets would pay between US$5 and US$10 for the services per month, with 22 percent not willing to pay. In emerging markets, only 16 percent were willing to pay up to US$10 per month. Willingness to pay for premium services While augmented reality services are yet to take off in a big way, one of the survey findings could have implications for the pricing strategies of mobile service operators (MSO). As many as 87 percent of the respondents were willing to pay for premium services while 78 percent were ready to do so for cloud services. Nearly a quarter of these respondents were willing to pay US$10–20 for premium services.
The growing popularity of tablets to access the Internet, especially among the youth, is opening up new growth avenues for businesses. The survey shows that tablets are used across all age groups but attracts the highest usage among those in the age group 14-39. More than half the tablet users access the Internet at least once a day and about 30 percent of them do so several times a day. A majority of the respondents who own tablets (66 percent) say their Internet activities revolve around downloading and viewing short videos which run for less than five minutes while 52 percent watched movies, TV shows or longer video clips (more than five minutes). Other significant activities are checking prices (61 percent) and weather information or forecasts (59 percent), reading news (58 percent) and obtaining travel directions.