SINGAPORE: Despite mobile device functionality becoming ever more sophisticated, research, released this week by mobile media company BuzzCity, shows that mobiles are actually sustaining, not replacing, consumer demand for PCs.
The global research, which surveyed 5000 people, found that computing tools remain important and even aspirational, for mobile internet users.51% of mobile internet users do not have daily access to fixed line internet and 23% do not use the fixed internet at all. Of those surveyed, 21% plan to buy a computer accessory in the next 12 months and 36% have already tried out tablets. Therefore, although ultimately mobiles may overtake PCs for internet browsing, there are no signs that the PC will fade away completely.
Turning to the demographics in South Africa: the results show that 53% of users are aged between 20 and 29 and 43% are aged 30 and above - the remaining 4% are under 20. Interestingly the split between male and female users was more balanced than any of the other 10 surveyed countries: 44% male, versus 56% female (See page 10 of the in-depth report).
In terms of the channel options, 57% of South African users were interested in entertainment and lifestyle and 29% went for mobile content. Nokia (49%) and Samsung (24%) are the main handsets used locally.
Mobile gaming is a whole different ball game, however, and the indications are that the rise of mobile gaming is detrimentally affecting demand for games consoles - compared to 2008, demand for games consoles has fallen, to 7.94%.
Dr KF Lai, CEO of BuzzCity: “Mobile browsing has been viewed as a threat to PCs, but ... many people use the internet on a range of devices, both mobile and otherwise.”
Dr KF Lai, CEO of BuzzCity, said: "Mobile browsing has been viewed as a threat to PCs, but our research shows that this is drastically oversimplifying things. Many people use the internet on a range of devices, both mobile and otherwise."
"Surfing patterns that have emerged so far gives our customers insights into what products consumers are looking for and particularly those opportunities that lie in un-met demand," added Lai.
Some key findings of the report include:
Mature users: Predominantly male (72%), aged between 18 - 45 yrs (86%), digitally savvy and highly sociable.
Mobile transactions: Developing from the mobile-centric (such as ring tones and games) to the tangible (airline seats, hotel rooms). There is real trust from consumers to use their phones for financial services such as bill payments, money transfers - with 46% of those surveyed saying they would use their phones for this.
Financial services: Perhaps the largest opportunity lies with the financial services industry, which can reach users and capitalise on the milestones that present financing, insurance and planning opportunities.
Handsets: Although Nokia still dominates for mobile browsing with 42% of internet traffic, Samsung has grown with stealth in the last year and outpaced Sony Ericsson. Expect to see more activity from Samsung users soon, particularly as mobile surfing and gaming grows in countries like Brazil, Turkey, Vietnam, Kenya and Argentina.
About the research
The survey was conducted from October 2010 to January 2011 in 13 countries, representing a variety of geographic regions: the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania.
The survey was kept short to cater to the mobile internet. Participants were asked 11 questions: 10 multiple choice questions plus one open-ended response.
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