Our sixth annual Mobile Consumer Survey charts where we are and where we’re headed: a society that has become unwired, a technology unrivalled in its dominance, and the emerging frontiers on which mobile’s impact is still unknown. Explore below to find out more.
Australia reaches peak smartphone
As mobile penetration hits 91%, sales are starting to drop – forcing phone manufacturers to get creative.
- 91% of Australians have a smartphone device.
- We’re also holding on to our smartphones for around three-and-a-half years on average, up from three years in 2017.
- Apple and Samsung dominate the Australian market, holding 40% and 36% market share respectively.
We’ve reached peak mobile. Smartphone penetration has grown from 76% to 91% over the past six years, with Australians aged over 55 and those based in Western Australia and Queensland, the last cohorts to jump on board.
We’re also holding on to our smartphones for longer – around three-and-a-half years on average, up from three years in 20171. Premium manufacturers are still favoured, with Apple and Samsung holding 40% and 36% market share respectively. However, this may change if the early move to 5G-enabled handsets, by companies such as Oppo and LG, creates an uplift in market share.
This shift is leading to a drop in smartphones sales, which fell 3% in the second half of 20182. Consumers aren’t seeing the benefit of new upgrades, however they have doubled down on accessories with the ownership of wearables (e.g., fitness bands and smart watches) on the rise.
It is forcing smartphone manufacturers to get creative to entice customers. Phone cameras are becoming more powerful, such as the Huawei P30 and Oppo Reno 10x Zoom, which use periscope-like technology to enable optical zoom capabilities3. Other developments include the Nokia 9 PureView, containing five rear cameras that serve to capture greater detail and texture in its photos,4 and the Apple iPhone Pro range with a third camera sensor for ultra-wide-angle photos and video5. These advances pose a challenge to bulky DSLR cameras, particularly given the potential for super hi-res images (e.g., 1TB) enabled through 5G.
A game changer may be Apple’s new U1 chip, which uses ultra-wideband technology for spatial awareness, allowing users to prioritise nearby devices to AirDrop to/from, detecting distance and direction on a much smaller scale. Once this pairs with 5G, the opportunities for augmented reality will be endless6.
What wallet? How shopping is going mobile
Mobile is the fastest growing device for ecommerce as Australians opt to shop anytime, anywhere.
- Mobile has overtaken desktop computers as the preferred device for online purchases.
- 24% of Australians prefer to online shop with mobile.
Mobile is the fastest growing device for ecommerce payments, as Australians opt to shop anytime, anywhere. Twenty-four percent of respondents prefer to online shop with mobile – overtaking desktop computers for the first time. This leaves only laptop computers ahead of mobiles, preferred by 34% of Australians.
Younger Australians are driving this trend, with the 25-34 age group adopting mobile as the preferred device for online purchases. However, gender also plays a role, with females preferring to use their mobiles (30% vs. 18%) while males remain committed to desktop computers (29% vs. 15%).
However, mobile isn’t just taking over online shopping – it’s moving into stores as well. Australians are increasingly leaving their wallets at home and letting their mobiles do the heavy lifting.
Thirteen percent of respondents have used the mobile ‘tap and pay’ solutions offered by their bank, such as NAB Pay. Of the global mobile payment solutions, Apple Pay is currently the most popular, used by 8% of respondents, followed by Samsung Pay (5%) and Google Pay (5%).
Music, video and gaming remain mobile’s domain
Mobile remains our top choice for entertainment - whether its video, podcasts or gaming.
- 40% of Australians play music on their phones.
- Mobile remains the preferred device to watch short videos, with 51% of Australians tuning in weekly.
- 43% of respondents are streaming films and/or TV shows on their mobiles, an uplift of 12% from last year.
- Mobile continues to be the preferred device for Australians to play games.
When it comes to entertainment, Australians are going mobile. Forty percent of consumers play music on their phones regularly compared to 33% last year, an uplift consistent across all age groups. The most avid listeners, and those who are most likely to have access to Spotify, are 18-24 year olds – 70% of whom are regularly listening to music on smartphones. But it’s not only the sound of music filling our headphones; Deloitte’s 2019 Media Consumer Survey revealed 44% of all respondents identified themselves as podcast listeners, 47% of whom consume at least one episode each week7.
Mobile remains the preferred device to watch short videos, with 51% of Australians tuning in weekly. Forty-three percent of Australians are also streaming films and/or TV shows on their mobiles, an uplift of 12% from last year. The biggest increase is the 18-24 year old segment – 25% consider video streaming as very important when hunting for their mobile plans. We’re not just watching, we’re binging. Three in five Australians now have access to video on-demand services and nearly half (48%) have Netflix.
Mobile also continues to be the preferred device for Australians to play games. The biggest mobile gamers are 35-44 year olds, closely followed by the 18-24 age group. Australian females play mobile games more often than males do; one in three females play mobile games, while males prefer gaming consoles over mobile.
The jury is still out on the 5G revolution
Australians are less likely to switch to 5G immediately on launch than they were last year.
- Australians are less likely to switch to 5G immediately on launch than they were last year.
- Up to 84% of respondents are not willing to meet the premium set out by providers for 5G plans.
The roll out of 5G presents huge opportunity for better connectivity between individuals, businesses and communities. Use cases, from assisted driving and virtual surgeries to home care robots, paint a picture of efficiency for our future enterprises. However, the current consumer value proposition of 5G is less clear.
The latest 5G phones are being equipped with enhanced processing power to cater to the capabilities that it will enable, such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality and artificial intelligence. For example, the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G contains unique 3D depth sensors, which have the potential to improve AR gaming experiences. However, with the full extent of 5G network functionality unlikely to come to life before 2022, consumers won’t realise these benefits immediately.
With this backdrop, we are now beyond the peak of inflated 5G expectations - but the hype is continuing to lose heat among Australian consumers. Respondents are now less likely to switch immediately to the 5G network than they were last year.
This lukewarm response could reflect consumers’ reactions to proposed 5G pricing and reviews of the limited current consumer use cases. Telstra is set to charge an additional $15 per month for 5G access bundled with 5G-enabled handsets and large data plans9 – yet survey results suggest up to 84% of respondents are not willing to meet this premium. The ability of network operators to recover investment through consumer plans will hinge on communicating the value enabled through 5G applications, which are still in their early infancy.
Read more about the Future of Connectivity.
Use and abuse: how much mobile is too much?
Australians face a health paradox: we see mobile’s impact on our health yet use them to monitor our wellbeing.
- Up to one in four Australians use their mobiles to monitor their wellbeing.
- 60% of Australians are trying to limit their smartphone use.
The past decade has seen a surge in digital products to track, monitor and manage our health – and Australians are increasingly using these devices. Fitness band penetration, the most common wearable technology, is now at 22%, an increase of 3% from last year.
Some Australians are using this health data to engage with providers. For example, AIA Australia offers health insurance packages with lower premiums to incentivise consumers to digitally engage with their health, through its wellness program, Vitality10.
Yet, we face a health paradox. Many studies have been conducted that measure the changes in the incidence of depression and anxiety11 over the past decade, and which have found positive correlations with mobile phone and social media use. Respondents who perceive they use their phones too much are three-and-a-half times more likely to feel ‘FOMO’, four times more likely to not go to sleep when they intended to, and five times more likely to feel anxious or stressed without their phone. Fourteen percent of respondents even claim they experience physical pain as a result of overuse.
Our survey found a growing need to withdraw, with 60% of Australians attempting to limit use this year, up from 38% last year. This includes turning the sound off their phones (28%) for a period of time and taking phone-free holidays.
Some organisations are taking a more positive approach with incentive programs for digital discipline. For example, a number of studies have shown people (particularly teenagers and young adults) are open to using apps that limit phone access while driving, if there are incentives associated with it12.
In mobile we trust: the data privacy battle
While trust is in short supply, only 13% of Australians avoid sharing their information with companies online.
- Only 13% of respondents avoid sharing personal information with companies online.
- Yet, consumers are trying to prevent the use of their data through privacy enhancing applications.
- 12% of Australians are now using facial recognition to unlock their phones and 40% use fingerprints.
Where we go, so do our phones. As technology evolves, consumers are becoming ever more reliant on their mobiles for day-to-day activities. It’s leading many of us to ask, do our smartphones know too much about us?
Deloitte’s 2019 Privacy Index found 65% of consumers cite trust as their number one consideration when granting an app permission to access personal information13. However, only 13% of respondents in our Mobile Consumer Survey did not share personal information, such as their address, photos and health metrics, with companies they interact with online. This figure has continued to decrease in the last two years, from 18% in 2017. The vast majority of consumers, despite being increasingly aware that companies use personal data, continue to share traditionally private information.
Yet, consumers are also taking stronger action to prevent the use of their personal data. According to Deloitte’s 2019 Privacy Index, 52% of respondents have used privacy enhancing applications14.
Complicating matters further, devices are continuing to evolve their security features to zero in on a person’s identity. Twelve percent of Australians are now using facial recognition to unlock their phones and 40% use fingerprints. The use of fingerprints to authorise purchases and money transfers is also increasing and is highest in the 18-24 and 25-34 age brackets, with an increase of 23 percentage points and 25 percentage points respectively over the last two years.
As Australia moves towards an open data future, consumers’ consciousness around what they are comfortable sharing, how consent is given, and the value exchange for doing so will need to sharpen.
Dive into the data
About TMT at Deloitte
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