mobile consumer survey 2015

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Our mobile world: Life’s smarter than you think

Deloitte Mobile Consumer 2015: the Australian Cut

29 October 2015: In Australia the smartphone reigns supreme. It is more ubiquitous and pervasive than ever with almost 80% of Australians owning at least one smartphone. In its second annual survey of more than 2,000 Australians aged between 18 and 75, Deloitte notes an increase in device ownership over 2014 across all mobile device categories, including smartphones. With roughly 15 million smartphones in use in Australia, not including the millions of devices saved, binned or lost, Deloitte forecasts that nearly five million will be purchased in Australia over the next year.

Technology, Media and Telco (TMT) Partner and co-author of the Deloitte report, Jeremy Drumm said: “In many ways Australians are embracing a mobile digital lifestyle faster than the rest of the world. Australia is currently just ahead of the world average in our penetration and adoption of smartphones (79% vs 78%) and particularly so when it comes to tablets (59% vs 54%). We are also significantly ahead of the UK, Canada, France and Germany when it comes to the use of social media to communicate.”

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Managing our multi-dimensional lives

Technology, Media and Telco (TMT) Leader, Stuart Johnston said: “At Deloitte we believe that Australians are becoming smarter, more effective and efficient through the convenience, connectivity and collaboration that the smartphone provides as we manage our multi-dimensional lives. We shop, plan holidays, connect with work, family and friends, bank, and run our businesses – all on the go – whether commuting, on or off-site at different locations, and at almost any time, day or night. Collectively Australians are adept multi-taskers.

“However as social creatures, we can be easily distracted. In fact our survey shows that collectively, and including the ‘fear of missing out’ (#FOMO), we glance at our devices as a nation more than 440 million times a day,” Johnston said. He said the two smartest aspects of adopting the smartphone, are the extent to which it enables Australians to communicate (its original utility), and to manage our many day-to-day activities.

“The smartphone has now become our go-to device – whether it’s taking photos, checking weather, ordering groceries, transferring money, hailing a ride, or video-calling. The smartphone is now much more than just a means to call, to message, to link socially or in business. It has become the personal remote for life. And the consumer is in control…for now.”

The need for speed

Kate Huggins, Deloitte TMT Partner said the survey also identified Australians need for speed. She said: “WiFi remains the Australian mobile consumer’s preferred way of connecting their smartphones (59%) and tablets (89%) to the internet. However, not having access to WiFi doesn’t stop Australians seeking connectivity through their mobile networks.

“While 21% of Australians in the 18-75 age groups actively seek a WiFi network when out and about, only 14% will defer accessing the internet in the absence of WiFi. Around 65% of respondents are content to ‘roam away from home’ and connect to their mobile networks.”

Huggins said: “Avoiding ‘bill shock’ and managing monthly costs is the main reason we prefer WiFi, given the majority of Australian respondents believe 4G is a faster connection than WiFi. This perception has grown since last year, as 53% of smartphone consumers perceive their 4G connections are faster than WiFi.”

Huggins added that 4G mobile network users are likely to engage in more data services while roaming, accessing a wider variety of online content.

Collaboration – new offerings - innovations

She points out: “We’re all familiar with how the sharing economy allows businesses and consumers to monetise spare vehicle or home capacity. Now telco operators are starting to adopt similar principles for data and bandwidth. Plans for customers to pool and share data allowances are now offered by all the major operators, including sharing across devices. For instance unused data can be shared between family members or excess data on ‘my phone can be used on my tablet’.

“These aren’t global firsts, but localisations of proven models overseas. Telstra Air, which launched earlier this year, works on the FONbusiness model of community WiFi, enabling customers to turn a bit of their broadband bandwidth into a WiFi hotspot all customers can access.

Huggins said: “The global backdrop to this product innovation is the increasing ubiquity and speed of public WiFi networks and the threat posed by ‘WiFi first’ offerings, where the cellular network just fills the gaps. The growth of mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), in particular Google Fi along with Apple’s rumoured MVNO intentions, will make the network and carrier less relevant than the software which will navigate ‘dumb pipes’ and control the experience.

“While it seems unlikely that an Australian MVNO would partner with Google Fi, like Sprint and T-Mobile did, or at that this point that many Australian consumers would choose a WiFi first offering, these global trends are prompting Australian operators to take pre-emptive action.”

'Game of Phones' – the battle of devices

When it comes to brands Jeremy Drumm said: “Australia is unique, and to a large extent so are the markets in the UK and US, through the way the top end brands Apple and Samsung are dominant. This powerhouse duopoly sells the most expensive devices on the market, and collectively holds 73% of the smartphone market, up from 70% in 2014.”

Despite the device cost, this year’s survey places Australia as the eighth most concentrated smartphone market in the world after Singapore (92%), South Korea (2nd in 2014), Spain (88%), China (86%), India (86%), Norway (down to 85%), and the Netherlands (82%), with the UK (76%), Germany (75%),Canada (71%), France (70%) and Japan (48%)2.

Drumm said: “Australians are very loyal when it comes to their smartphones. Of the five million smartphones that will be purchased over the next 12 months, we anticipate that 46% of consumers, with roughly 2.3 million smartphones, will remain loyal to their current brand.

“Be it brand loyalty, ecosystem entrapment, or a genuine love of device, the smartphone marketplace has high hurdles for new entrants,” Drumm said. “Apple’s cult-like status3 is supported by the 61% of iPhone owners sticking with the brand when upgrading to a new device. Samsung’s healthy following adds up to 47% remaining loyal to their brand.”

Opportunity vs danger

Johnston said: “Although our fixation with our smartphones has considerable upside, it also has potential downside. In spite of the known health implications resulting from too much ‘screen-time’ before sleeping4, more than half of Australians ignore the warnings. Two in ten 18-24 year olds use their device last thing before turning in for the night.

“Some 91% of 18-24 year olds use their smartphone while spending ‘quality time’ with mum and dad! But of even more concern is our finding that 42% of Australians admit to using their smartphones while driving. A quarter do so regularly! While GPS-enabled phones are terrific for navigation, the question is whether mobile consumers are using these devices safely rather than taking advantage of a connected car.”

Johnston concluded: “While the ways we use our phones change year-on-year, the breadth and depth of what we do on our devices continues to expand. Smartphones are both location and context aware. As personal concierge services increase, the smartphone’s capacity to shift from just supporting decisions, to making decisions is building. And as the quality of devices and the speed of the networks increases, we can expect more engaging and diverse content to continue to distract, enlighten, engage and possibly, if we are not careful, endanger us!”

Retail Reinvented – shifting ‘down-time’ into ‘browse-time’

Drumm pointed out that Australians are app savvy and tend to be early adopters of new technology and online commerce trends. He said: “Banks are progressive and innovative when it comes to mobile, online and smart paying systems, including Australians’ much-loved ‘tap and pay’ cards and payment systems, which are now commonplace across the country5.

“However despite the success of Australian banks and businesses in introducing simple and accessible ways to enhance the retail experience, the vast majority of Australians are not using their smartphones to make payments in-store.

“The Australian mobile consumer appears to be disinclined to use their smartphones in the same way they currently use their bank or credit card. Just 24% of Australian respondents indicated they would use their smartphone to pay in a retail shop, a 16 point decline over the 40% that would have last year. The main reasons were: ‘The perceived lack of security (43%)’ and ‘lack of perceived benefits (41%)’.”

Beyond Payment

“To overcome what appears to be a growing resistance to mobile payments, retailers and app savvy developers, will need to look beyond just the payment process and design a compelling value proposition that uses the full functionality and security of the smartphone. The simplicity of ‘pay’-waving cards is tough to beat,” Drumm said.

Grandmas taking selfies

Australians love to take photos - 95% of us have taken a photo on our smartphone. And even Grandma is posting on social media! As smartphones become ubiquitous across all demographics, the number of mobile consumers snapping photos, taking videos and then messaging or posting is intensifying.

Huggins said: “Women (73%) are far more likely to use their smartphone to share a photo on social media compared with men (57%). In fact, 32% of Australian women share weekly, whereas there are still 41% of men who have never posted a photo on social media.”

Data consumption is also growing with this thirst for social sharing. In the Mobile Consumer Survey (Australia) 2014, Deloitte predicted that the instant messaging wave was still building in Australia. This year it has landed. There is an increase in adoption of IM and social media across all ages on smartphones.

Huggins said: “Instant messaging use jumped nearly 70% this year, most notably in mobile consumers aged over 45 where we expect usage to continue to grow. Instant messaging use slightly surpassed voice services for consumers under 24, a trend to watch over the next year as the messaging and social wave continues to impact Australian mobile consumers.”

1 Fon (Fon Wireless Ltd.) is a company that operates a system of dual access wireless networks.
2 NB: Not all global results are in at this time.
3 The Atlantic, "Turning Customers Into Cultists"
4 ABC News, "Teens' sleep affected by use of mobile phones and computers, study finds"
5 Deloitte TMT Predictions 2015

Mobile Consumer Survey 2015
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How often, if at all, do you use your smartphone while doing the following? Source: Deloitte Mobile Consumer Survey 2015
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If a mobile solution existed that allowed you to pay like you do with a bank card, would you? Source: Deloitte Mobile Consumer Survey 2015
About the survey

The Australian Cut is part of the Deloitte Global Mobile Consumer Survey, a multi-country study of mobile phone users and usage around the world. This 2015 study comprises 49,000 respondents across 30 countries and five continents. Data cited in the report is based on a nationally representative sample of just over 2,000 Australia consumers aged 18-75. Field work took place in May 2015 and was carried out online by Ipsos, an independent research firm, based on a question set provided by Deloitte.

We also refer to the Deloitte Media Consumer Survey 2015 and our Technology, Media & Telecommunications Predictions 2015. The report provides a perspective on the insights that the survey has revealed with additional analysis.

Download a copy of the report

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About Deloitte Australia
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