A recent survey conducted by Accenture, the Mobile Web Watch 2012 survey, provided a lot of new information related to how the growing numbers of Internet users around the world are getting online. Perhaps the most telling point of the survey came from the issue of just how users are getting online in the first place, and what devices they're using to get there.
The Mobile Web Watch 2012 survey revealed that, while multiple devices are used in general to connect to the Web, the biggest connection medium by far across Europe, South America and Latin America is the smartphone. Based on the study, fully 61 percent of users use smartphones, while the next highest number, 37 percent, uses netbooks. 22 percent of respondents, meanwhile, turn to tablets, and over two thirds of respondents -- 69 percent, specifically -- use mobile devices in general at least once a day.
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Emerging markets are showing phenomenal growth -- fully 78 percent of Brazilian respondents, 73 percent of Russian respondents, 61 percent of Mexican respondents, and 57 percent of South African respondents plan to buy a mobile phone with Web capability in the near future. The average response to that question was 46 percent, proving that emerging markets have more people interested in buying the new technology.
Developed economies also have plenty of users looking to go mobile. The rate of mobile adoption in Germany, for example, has gone from 17 percent in 2010 to 51 percent now, which is triple what it was not quite two years ago. Switzerland's numbers are actually higher than Germany's, but without such rapid growth, going from 27 percent in 2010 to 67 percent today. Austria split the difference between the two, meanwhile, going from 31 percent in 2010 to double that, 62 percent, this year.
When it comes to what the users want from their services, saying "they want it all" isn't too far from accurate. 89 percent rank network quality as tops, with 88 percent citing geographic coverage, 85 percent focused on connection speed, and 81 percent looking at the cost of the service. Men outweigh women on mobile Internet use, but by a fairly slim margin at 73 percent to 66 percent. While advertising is regarded as an annoyance by many- - 38 percent call banner ads annoying and 37 percent call text-based advertising annoying- - over 90 percent of respondents are happy to get information about special offers and discounts, with 60 percent finding such results to be entertaining.
This poses a lot of new opportunities for businesses to provide fee-based services to users, because the pool of mobile users is growing overall. With large numbers of users at peace with the concept for paying for services -- 59 percent are aware, for example, of cloud storage opportunities, and of them, 87 percent will pay for access to such services -- it makes for a big opportunity. Even outside of fee-based services, advertisers who focus their advertising on promoting coupons or special pricing will find their offerings well-received by the mobile community, so that represents another major opportunity to access a growing market that's interested in hearing about the offering in question.
A changing market always requires changes in operation to take the fullest advantage of same, and that's where surveys like these prove useful for businesses. Seeing what the emerging--and developed--markets are looking for provides valuable information in terms of shaping offerings. How far providers will take this information remains to be seen, but it's clear that smart providers will take the lessons offered here to heart.
Edited by Rich Steeves