Feature Article

December 16, 2013

Mobile Trends for 2014 Called Out in New Study

The social implications of smartphone use and mobile data are still playing out, even if most people in the U.S. now have or are getting a smartphone or tablet. Putting numbers to some of the trends that flow from mobile data use, Ericsson ConsumerLab has just released its list of some of the biggest consumer trends for 2014.

First, get used to the fingerprint reader that now comes standard on iPhones; consumers are tired of typing in passwords, according to ConsumerLab, and they want identification to be as easy as it often is in the real world. That means using their body as a password—and fingerprints look to be the body part of choice, although we never can rule out iris identification either. Roughly 52 percent of smartphone users want fingerprints to replace all Internet passwords, ConsumerLab found.

There’s a lot of concern about government surveillance via cell phone, but consumers like the idea of tracking their activities even if they don’t want others doing the tracking. The idea of self-tracking via smartphone is picking up steam. Of those surveyed, roughly 40 percent said they would like their smartphone to log all of their physical activities. Further, nearly 60 percent said they would like to use wristbands such as the Nike Fit to track themselves, and 56 percent liked the idea of using rings for that purpose.

In general, consumers also find that the benefits of the Internet far outweigh its perils. While the risks of being connected to the Internet are starting to be realized by the population at large, few would sacrifice Internet access because of privacy and other issues; only 4 percent of respondents said they use the Internet less because of privacy issues, even as 56 percent recognized the concerns around privacy and the Internet.

Ericsson ConsumerLab found that the affects of smartphones on city life have not strongly been felt yet compared with what the next three years will bring (hint: it will go beyond being mayor of your favorite restaurant). It also found that consumers are getting wise that the data coverage provided by cellular providers is not up to snuff with voice coverage in many cases—and that’s unacceptable. This is especially the case in places like India and Indonesia, where smartphones have become the only computer for many.

Smart sensors are one way that consumers think society will change. Roughly 60 percent said they think smart sensors will be commonplace by 2016.

Users are increasingly using smartphones to monitor their Internet use; nearly half of smartphone users run an app that tells them about their mobile data use. Further, 37 percent use an app to test connection speed. So providers that think they can get away with sub-par mobile data speeds might be in for a surprise.

Mobile video, of course, is a trend known by most everyone. ConsumerLab confirms with numbers that video continues to be driven socially—38 percent of those it surveyed said they watch videos sent by friends several times a week, and 22 percent influence the video choices of their friends. Further, 18 percent of smartphone users start watching a video from home and finish watching it elsewhere. Globally, 19 percent of streamed TV is done via smartphone or tablet.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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