Global mobile habits change

14 February 2011

LONDON: Consumers are pursuing an increasingly diverse range of mobile activities, covering both how they interact with each other and in response to advertising, a multimarket study has found.

Deloitte, the consultancy, surveyed 30,454 mobile users in 15 countries, a list including China, France, Germany, India, Japan, the UK and US.

It reported that a majority of individuals in South Korea, the US and the UK possessed more than one such device, and 10% had three.

Indeed, 5% of the South Koreans and Americans polled placed this figure at four, and around 15% of Chinese participants pegged it at ten, although that typically resulted from hoarding old handsets.

At present, 70% of people access the web through a broadband or dial-up connection, measured against a quarter doing so on cellular devices.

Text messages remained the most common type of non-voice wireless communication among UK smartphone users, as 90% send SMS every day.

Meanwhile, 50% utilised email via their handsets with equal frequency, and 40% logged on to sites like Facebook and Twitter in this way.

By contrast, 90% of the Chinese sample used SMS a minimum of once per 24 hours, standing at 50% concerning email, and 30% regarding social networks.

"In general, consumers do not consider forms of communication as mutually exclusive," Deloitte said.

"Text messages can readily co-exist with, and most likely complement, social networks and e-mail."

For mobile broadband, two-thirds of respondents used this medium at home, and a third did so at work, when out-and-about and while commuting.

In all, 70% of Chinese consumers regularly leveraged the same channel on the move as well as in static locations, almost doubling the totals yielded by South Africa, South Korea, the UK, US.

Elsewhere, Deloitte argued the fact there are 5bn mobile subscribers, often exhibiting a personal attachment to these devices, and the graphical capabilities of smartphones should be attracting brands to advertise.

"Despite this, mobile advertising revenue remains minimal," the study said. "Advertising spend per mobile subscriber is likely to be well under $1 per year in 2011."

Overall, mobile advertising enjoyed a 6% response rate in the US, far above typical clickthrough levels for online display advertising.

More broadly, 82% of panellists in South Korea, 80% in China, 55% in the US and 40% in the UK have positively reacted to mobile ads.

Within this, 45% of South Korean and Chinese contributors had looked for further information, falling below 20% in the US and less than 5% in the UK.

Over 40% of Chinese and 30% of South Koreans had clicked on a link, around three times the US and UK scores.

Another 20% of South Koreans have previously told a friend about a mobile ad, approximately five percentage points ahead of China and ten in front of the US and UK.

One out of ten Americans called the brand owner, the highest uptake in this area, while their Chinese peers posted the largest ratings with reference to going to an advertised location, lodging almost 20%.

A fifth of the Chinese and Korean cohorts actually bought the featured product, as did 15% of Britons and 10% of Americans.

When asked what would encourage them to accept a greater number of mobile ads, 27% of participants said receiving a "really good exclusive bargain", and 19% mentioned a "real time offer".

"It may not be mobile advertising's year in 2011. But the case for mobile advertising is likely to grow even stronger with every year that passes," the report concluded.

Data sourced from Deloitte; additional content by Warc staff