It’s the era of “predictive personalisation”, says JWT in its annual global consumer trends report.
“As we generate more data than ever and data analysis gets more sophisticated, brands will be able to predict what a customer needs or wants. Predictive personalisation will usher in very precisely tailored offers and communications.”
Ericsson ConsumerLab’s CityLife report found that with increased urbanisation, 40% of city dwellers are using smartphones and mobile information to solve day-to-day issues and that mobile network coverage is ranked alongside water distribution and the availability of social spaces. Johannesburg was also one of the 13 global cities surveyed and ranked high up there with satisfaction levels.
It is becoming a human need linked to socialisation, happiness and quality of life.
“Urbanisation is a global mega-trend. City populations grow by 7500 people per hour, and people are clearly feeling some stress from overcrowding. But we also see how people in cities use ICT as a means to alleviate such feelings and to better experience city life,” said Michael Björn, head of research at Ericsson ConsumerLab.
About 60% of city dwellers use their mobile phones every day to connect to the internet and depend on the mobile networks for both business and personal use. Smartphones are most heavily used during the rush hour commute and Ericsson says their research shows that transportation, roads and access is an area in which ICT in particular could be used to make life easier for commuters by providing real-time traffic and transport schedule updates. People are actually more relaxed if they know how long their commute will be and are able to use their time efficiently, for example, via a smartphone.
The fact that broadband access in South Africa has more than doubled in the last two years to 8.2 million, is due to mobile operators slashing the cost of data and accelerated network roll-out, according to World Wide Worx ‘Internet Access in South Africa 2012’ research study.
“The migration from fixed line to mobile represents a profound shift in the way South Africans consume content, says Justin Zehmke, executive producer of howzit MSN. The 9-5 internet peak, along with the traditional desktop publishing and advertising model that has become the South African standard, will become increasingly irrelevant. Coupled with the availability of cheaper mobile devices, this presents an opportunity for smaller publishing and tech companies to enter a market traditionally dominated by a few major players.”
Arthur Goldstuck suggests that, five years from now, “mobile broadband and smartphones will be the conventional means of access, rather than fixed line, which will increasingly be confined to small business”.
Zehmke adds: “High speeds, lower rates and ease of access also means that the demographic of the SA user base is shifting significantly, once again creating space for new content and business models. The trends presented in this survey suggest that we will see a major shift in the type of content supplied and consumed, with mobile apps and services at the top of the industry’s priority list.”
The impact opens up opportunities in the content industry and will hopefully spawn a culture of innovation in both the technology and publishing sector.
Goldstuck and Zehmke predict a “reinvention” of the South African digital industry.
MobiCover CEO, Clayton Hayward says mobile strategy should be the highest priority on every CIOs list.
“Although most organisations recognise that they need a mobile strategy, they don’t always realise that it demands new approaches to strategy, application development, testing, security, management and funding. These strategies need to be innovative and will ultimately exploit payment, social networking and location-based advertising.”
“The mobile industry is dynamic and exciting, especially with new apps and services emerging in areas such as mobile payment and social commerce. CIOs are facing new challenges as consumers demand more advanced mobile apps and websites, and trends such as “Bring Your Own Device”. They need to explore the mobile business and technology trends that will influence corporate strategy and show how to turn complexity into opportunity.”
Hayward says mobile devices have “drastically” shifted the online landscape and many executives don’t understand the technology and how to hack it back to developing their mobile strategy.
“More importantly, employees are now being recognised as consumers and enterprises are fast developing and managing applications on a wider range of platforms than ever before. Organisations need to update their mobile strategies to move beyond simple apps and internet on the handset. Second generation strategies will exploit mobile and cloud capabilities to drive innovative and disruptive opportunities.”
With the plethora of diverse and insecure mobile devices spreading through the enterprise, mobile device management has never been more complex, he adds.
So how are the majority of South African consumers using their phones?
Nielsen discovered that in terms of mobile media services accessed from mobile devices, the majority (21%) said they downloaded ringtones and 20% said they downloaded music tracks. The balance of mobile subscribers download wallpapers, screensavers and pictures. Only a small percentage stream online radio or watch video mobile TV.
Other findings from Nielsen include:
• Accessing the internet via mobile is increasing, with 11% saying they do so via mobile phones. And the highest mobile internet usage is recorded among consumers aged 25-34 years old, followed by 35-44 year olds.
• Those who are growing up with the internet, 19-24 years, are the ones spending a number of hours online per week. A quarter of those surveyed in LSM 8-10 browse the internet and only 6% in LSM 1-5 have done so.
• SMS messaging is still very popular and 69% of men and women say it is cheaper than calling.
• The ubiquitous Spaza store is still the most popular channel for consumers to buy mobile airtime, followed by supermarkets.
• Facebook is the most popular social media platform used by mobile phone subscribers (85%).
• For the majority of subscribers, price is the most important driver, followed by customer service.
South Africans are very connected to their phones, with a reported 63% checking their phones at least once every 30 minutes and 42% saying that they check it at least once every 10 minutes, according to a global lifestyle survey by Time magazine.
A total of 61% of South Africans say they browse the internet via mobile devices several times a week; and 43% of SA motorists use their mobile phones while driving, which is almost double that of the global figure, Nielsen reports.