Note: This is a guest post by Nitesh Patel from Strategy Analytics. The consulting company provides strategic and tactical support to global clients through a range of customized solutions: multi-country primary research, user experience design, on-device tracking projects and B2B consulting and white papers.
The appetite of consumers for accessing digital services on their smartphone shows little sign of relenting across both advanced mobile broadband markets like the USA and developing mobile broadband markets like India.
Data from Strategy Analytics’ AppOptix telemetry platform shows the average US Android smartphone user spends 231 minutes on their smartphone per day and generates over 730 MB of data. This compares to 143 minutes per day and nearly 446 GB of data in India.
These totals have increased notably across both countries over the last two years. Consumers have become so inundated with instant gratification – they want their music & videos streaming instantly, their photos automatically backed up, endless notifications for apps and social networking to stay connected for fear of “missing out.”
Smartphone data use is being driven by a variety of services, primarily social and communication applications. Despite the recent negative publicity around the security of user data, usage of Facebook remains robust. Mobile web browsing also remains popular and consumption of data hungry video content is increasing. With LTE penetration growing in emerging markets like India video use has risen substantially.
Reliance Jio indicates the average user is generating 10 GB per month of data, driven primarily by video. Social media has become a heavy platform for video content discovery and consumption which is causing disruption in the mobile video space as many consumers interviewed by Strategy Analytics have indicated less time spent on YouTube and more time spent on Facebook because simply put: “The videos now find you, you don’t have to try and find the videos anymore”. With video in particular consumer behaviors are continually in flux:
Last but not least, the growing expenditure in mobile advertising (in absolute terms and as a share of overall digital advertising) reflects a rise in potential of mobile commerce, for digital goods and also physical items and services. Digital consumers are therefore able to not only access services anywhere and anytime but are also ready to transact.
Beyond mobile phones
The variety of connected devices that consumers will be able to use to access and engage with digital services, whether for communications, information, entertainment or commerce is set for continued growth. For example, a year ago smart speakers were not a mainstream home product but sales are set to approach 70 million globally by the end of 2018 and will more than triple by 2023. Outside the home the number cars shipped with mobile broadband connectivity will almost reach 40 million this year and double by 2025. Sales of wearable devices, primarily smartwatches, continue to rise while smartphones continue to ship close to 2 billion annually.
Providers of connected services must have a clear understanding of the preferences of target groups of customers as it relates to which devices they will use to engage with their services. One-size-fits-all approach across different connected devices is unlikely to deliver an optimal user-experience - so what features and capabilities and content should be prioritized for each connected device?
Despite the growth in ownership of connected devices smartphones will remain the primary device that consumers will use to connect to digital services, and even more so in lower income emerging markets where multi-device ownership will be less prevalent.
Given the evolving needs of today’s digital consumers’ the providers of digital services must address three areas in order to succeed:
- Understand the needs and preferences of target audiences and segments e.g. priority features, platforms, devices, business models and willingness to pay;
- Design a superior user experience; not just for mobile but optimized for a variety of digital channels and devices. Consumers are often times difficult to persuade to move outside their comfort zones when it comes to shifting to different technologies (e.g. mobile payments, using chatbots, etc.) and if the experience is not better, or at least just as effective, they will quickly abandon it, with the unlikely possibility of ever returning. This is especially true for the recent resurgence of voice in the car through the likes of Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant (Android Auto) and Siri (Apple CarPlay), but many users have been so put off by previous voice recognition systems in the car, there is little desire to even try it for many consumers;
- Be ready to convert usage into revenue by providing flexible, secure, reliable, and frictionless payment options for consumers.