global mobile consumer survey


Global mobile consumer survey: US edition

The market-creating power of mobile

Moving beyond the role of being simple communication devices, mobile has now become a "hub," enabling overall connectivity for consumers and opening doors to internet-of-things (IoT), mobile payments, virtual reality (VR), and beyond.

Consumer attitudes around mobile technology

Think of a single device you cannot imagine your life without. What would it be? Most probably your smartphone. Mobile devices have become ubiquitous. In fact, without access to one, it is difficult to participate fully in the activities that comprise the global economy and 21st century life.

The 2015 Global mobile consumer survey confirmed that mobile has become indispensable across all demographics and geographies. Now in its sixth year, Deloitte’s 2016 Global Mobile Consumer Survey explores consumer attitudes around mobile technology.

Life’s essentials: Air, water, food, and smartphones

The time it takes for us to pick up our phones in the morning continues to shrink: More than 40 percent of consumers check their phones within five minutes of waking up. As a first thing, we check our IM or text messages (35 percent), followed by emails (22 percent). During the day, we look at our phones approximately 47 times and that number rises to 82 for 18- to 24-year-olds. Once the day is over, over 30 percent of consumers check their devices five minutes before going to sleep, and about 50 percent in the middle of the night.

Typically, what is the first thing you access on your phone every day?

Changing device landscape

Smartphone ownership growth has begun to slow down, with only a 7 percent increase this year. This is hardly surprising considering most people already own a smartphone. On the other hand, smart watches tripled their market penetration from 4 percent to 12 percent today, while fitness bands reached 17 percent from last year’s 10 percent. Although these numbers are still smaller in comparison, the growth in wearables is good news for smartphones since it cements their role as an information hub.

We just can’t put our devices down

Outside of work, shopping still ranks as the No. 1 activity during which consumers use their phones, with 93 percent reported usage. Spending leisurely time and watching TV follow closely at 90 percent and 89 percent respectively. More than half of consumers (58 percent) report they have used their phones to browse a shopping website or app, and more than a third (38 percent) say they do so at least once a week. Nearly 40 percent say they have used their phones to pay for products.

The IoT market is taking shape

Interest in home-based IoT showed the largest year-over-year increase, jumping 12 percentage points from 53 percent to 65 percent, surpassing interest in wearables. Additionally, willingness to pay has also risen considerably with consumers saying they are willing to pay extra for home monitoring services, and home control. In the car IoT front, nearly two-thirds (62 percent) say they would consider eventually owning or riding in an autonomous car. Similarly, interest in purchasing an autonomous vehicle has shot up from 18 percent in 2015 to 27 percent in this year, a relative increase of 50 percent.

mPayments usage remains steady

Compared to last year, we see a slower increase in in-store mPayments usage but there is still considerable interest. Concerns about security continues to drop and users see more value in mPayments.

How frequently, if at all, do you use your phone to make an in-store payment?

Security and privacy is still top of mind

Consumers are not necessarily averse to sharing information. In fact, their willingness to do so has increased since last year, particularly among younger consumers. But they want to be the ones to determine what information gets shared. More than half of consumers who say they are interested in connected devices express willingness to share usage data with companies, as long as they can choose what information to share.

Consumers are exploring purchasing and plan alternatives

While carriers continue to be the No. 1 choice for smartphone purchases, both in-store and online, manufacturers are gaining share, particularly with the coveted younger age groups. Twenty-five to 34 year olds, who reported buying the highest number of smartphones, are least attached to carriers.

We also see changing preferences when it comes to a mobile operator. The importance of data-centric services has escalated and consumers list the cost of data plans and 4G/LTE availability and/or quality as their top reasons for choosing an operator. Similarly, data plan costs are the No. 1 reason consumers say they would switch operators.

Youngest aren’t always the trendsetters

A typical technology adoption curve usually shows the youngest generation demonstrating the highest levels of interest and use. In past years, our survey has confirmed this trend, with the 18 to 24-year-old group leading in mobile technology usage. This year we are seeing 25 to 34-year-olds leading the charge—sometimes by a dominant margin. Our survey showed that with the technological know-how and the increased cash flow, 25 to 34-year-olds are demonstrating higher levels of mobile device interest and use.

Download the 2016 US Global mobile consumer survey: US edition executive summary to read more. Stay tuned for our Global trends report, which will offer world-wide insights and country trend comparisons.

Look deeper into what's ahead in the Telecommunications industry by reading our 2017 Telecommunications Industry Outlook.

Want to explore more? Check out our
2016 Global mobile consumer survey infographics.

Let's connect

Craig Wigginton
Vice Chairman | US Telecommunicatons Leader
+1 212 436 3222

Craig Wigginton, Deloitte & Touche LLP, is a US vice chairman and the Telecommunications Industry leader in the US, globally, and for the Americas. A veteran of the telecommunications industry, Craig has nearly 30 years of experience in helping clients in the telecom sector including carriers, equipment and handset manufacturers, and others in the mobile ecosystem. Craig serves as a key advisor to senior executives to address their critical issues, especially as it relates to the challenges and opportunities brought forward by the changing role of connectivity. He speaks at conferences worldwide and leads Deloitte’s Global mobile consumer survey.

This year’s survey is the biggest and most extensive to date. It covers five continents, 31 countries, and nearly 53,000 respondents. The insights in this report are extracted and analyzed from data corresponding to 2,000 survey respondents from within the United States. Fielded by an independent research firm, the survey focuses on consumer behaviors, trends, and opinions for a broad range of wireless and mobility products and services. In addition to exploring year-over-year results and key insights, the survey is also designed to highlight differences between consumers across generational divides, capturing findings from six distinct age groups (ranging from 18 to 74 years of age).


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