NEW YORK: The rapid rise of smartphones is creating a new generation of digital consumers, who are looking to mobile technology to streamline and simplify their lives, a study has argued.

GfK Business & Technology's report suggested that as subscribers demand greater levels of customisation from applications, retailers and brands must keep pace.

These "Digital Drivers" not only view, create and share content, but now expect to receive "a personal … experience through both online and mobile platforms," said David Krajicek, managing director at GfK Business & Technology.

While sales of mobile handsets are declining overall, the growing popularity of gadgets such as the iPhone and BlackBerry rests more on applications than coverage, according to GfK's survey of 1,000 adults.

It found the value of competing brands in this sector, together with the selection of apps they provide, were higher priorities than either reliable reception or customer service.

"Our research shows that we are at a mobile application tipping point, where the apps are driving customer purchases of the technology more than the smartphones themselves," said Krajicek.

"Smartphone users are increasingly willing to pay for applications, but those applications need to seamlessly integrate with their lives and streamline the tasks they're currently using other technologies to accomplish."

The new consumer mindset will influence the in-store and mobile shopping experience, requiring brands to tailor apps based on an understanding of how people utilise these tools, GfK predicted.

It also believes that finding the best value for money, along with heightened convenience for completing transactions, will shape where and when "Digital Drivers" make acquisitions.

Data sourced from PR Newswire; additional content by Warc staff