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Mobile content and commerce behaviours maturing in developed markets with growth economies driving mobile adoption

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Global mobile content and commerce grew slightly from 65 to 66% in 2014, fuelled by strong gains in growth markets – but a lack of trust remains the industry’s biggest obstacle, increasing from 30 to 34% year on year, according to the MEF’s annual Global Consumer Survey for 2014.

Growth markets were found to have made significant gains and are driving much of this global growth in 2014. For example, Brazil grew from 49 to 61 per cent and Indonesia from 69 to 79 per cent. China and India each enjoyed five percentage points of growth.

Mobile-first regions are also driving mobile innovation with accelerated adoption of relatively new areas of mobile such as mHealth, banking and education. In UAE, 62 per cent have seen a mobile device used in a public health environment, versus the average of 44 per cent. Africa remains the world leader in mobile banking, with 85 per cent of consumers there having used their mobile to carry out a banking transaction when the global average is 69 per cent.

The study also identifies a continued and discernible shift in the purchasing of digital goods as consumers embrace an era of Mobile 3.0. In developed markets while the study found the overall activity growth curve to be flattening, consumers are engaging via mobile as part of their everyday lives.

In 2013, purchases of digital content were 22 per cent higher than mCommerce activity for physical products. In 2014, the difference between the two purchase groups shrank significantly to just 13 per cent globally, and in developed markets such as the US and UK, the gap between them is even closer with, the difference is just 9 and 5 per cent respectively.

A lack of trust remains the biggest obstacle to more people purchasing via their mobile. 34 per cent of respondents cited trust-related issues, a rise of 4 per cent from 2013. This is also affecting sales of new phones and tablets. When asked what they took into account when buying a new device, four in ten named security and privacy.

The report also finds that gaming and social networking continue to dominate the app space. Games are up one point to 55 per cent and social media apps downloads the second most popular at 48 per cent.

Utility was the category of apps that made the highest gains. Use of weather apps was up six per cent, and navigation/travel and utility apps – up three per cent each.

Mobile banking continues its upward trajectory. In 2011, 57 per cent of people conducted ‘some form of mobile banking’. This year the number was 69 per cent.

Second screening is all but ubiquitous, with 94 per cent using another form of media while browsing on their phones.

Andrew Bud, MEF Global Chair commented: “MEF’s annual study reveals two significant insights for the industry. Firstly, it identifies the incredible opportunity that growth markets present – their adoption of new mobile services spectacularly outpaces the rest of the world.

“Secondly, it shows that in developed markets there has been a fundamental shift in consumer behaviours and perceptions. Mobile has evidently grown beyond its heritage as a special platform for special transactions to become an everyday part of consumers’ lives. Confidence in data privacy and security are now crucial. Users expect a seamless, integrated experience, in a trusted environment. Companies need to deliver that or be left behind.”

This year’s report is the largest ever, surveying almost 15,000 mobile media users in 15 countries across five continents. The survey was carried out in association with On Device Research and supported by MEF members AVG Technologies, ooredoo and TIMWE. It shows globally that mobile content and commerce activity rose slightly in 2014 from 65 to 66 per cent.

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