Findings from a study by custom research company TNS into today’s mobile consumer highlight that as ‘static’ functionality such as SMS and still imaging become commoditised, growth will be driven through further demand for social functionality and new demands for video calling, streaming and sharing services.
In particular, the TNS Mobile Life 2011 study notes that the number of mobile web users visiting social networking sites grew from 30 per cent to 46 per cent globally, and from 26 per cent to 50 per cent in emerging markets, leapfrogging much of the developed markets; Only 18 per cent of consumers globally managed to upload photos or video directly to the web from their mobiles, during the same period, but a further 44 per cent would be interested in doing so in future; Consumers in emerging markets are more likely to want to upload content (49 per cent), but more than half (55 per cent) do not have the ability to do so.
“With mobiles increasingly becoming the primary device for Internet access and communication, particularly in emerging markets, entertainment and multimedia features are a key requirement for engaging with consumers,” said James Fergusson, Managing Director, Global Technology Sector, TNS. “Handset manufacturers need to ensure that entertainment offers, particularly mobile music, gaming, pictures, video and social networking are available and easy to access. Many are missing a trick in not bringing more smartphones to market in high-growth countries.”
TNS notes that in many emerging markets users outpace their western counterparts, leading demand for the latest mobile technologies. Camera features may have reached a saturation point, growing only one per cent between 2010 and 2011, but nearly a quarter of global consumers (24 per cent) say the ability to take and share pictures and video will play a major role in their choice of next device.
TNS Mobile Life shows the strongest growth in new services in the last 12 months has come from social video (10 per cent to 15 per cent) and Live TV (nine per cent to 12 per cent). Over half of consumers (54 per cent) are interested in video calling, despite not yet using the service and half are interested in watching live TV (50 per cent) or in downloading or streaming video (48 per cent).
In Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa, demand for Live TV in particular is higher still, reaching upwards of 70 per cent. “Emerging Tier 1 markets, such as China, Brazil and UAE already have penetration levels that match mature markets,” Fergusson continues. “Multimedia content presents an opportunity to leverage growth potential in emerging economies. Income constraints in many of these markets ensure the importance of imaging and video services through mobiles increases.”