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Consumers Want More Mobile Web Service and App Choices, Control

Some 80 percent of consumers would prefer a service provider that gives them more choice in the applications and services available on their mobile device, according to a study titled "Go mobile, grow" from IBM's Institute for Business Value, MarketingCharts writes.

Consumer demand for customization and personalization will drive innovation and open standards in the mobile marketplace, the study concludes: 69 percent of consumers reported they want devices that are open to personalization and configuration of applications.

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The market for mobile Internet services is estimated to reach $80 billion by 2011, with increasing usage expected to fuel growth in both the provision of services and mobile internet advertising.*

At the same time, the number of mobile internet users worldwide is projected to approach 1 billion, a 191 percent increase from 2006 and a compound annual growth rate of 24 percent.**

IBM surveyed nearly 700 consumers in the USA, Germany, China, India and Japan on their preferences regarding the mobile internet.

The IBM survey found the mobile web will increasingly be used for utility and transactional services, as well as entertainment:

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  • Nearly 60 percent of consumers are interested in banking via mobile devices. Other utility services include email, instant messaging, stock trading, news and information and general browsing.
  • Entertainment applications are growing in popularity: 53 percent of consumers say they are interested in mobile TV and 45 percent are interested in buying music via mobile devices.

"Clearly the same market forces which empowered consumers to choose personal computers that were open and enabled them to customize their applications are at play in the mobile web marketplace," said Dr. Sungyoul Lee, Global Consulting Leader, Electronics Industry, IBM.

"Our survey found 60 percent of consumers do not have a specific brand preference when using mobile internet services. With consumers clamoring for choice, the marketplace will need to innovate around open platforms and models to build loyalty."

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Markets around the world will adopt the mobile web differently, IBM said:

  • In mature markets, the mobile web will extend and complement the personal computer.
  • In emerging markets like India and China, consumers are skipping their first PC purchase and going straight to high-end mobile platforms that deliver the same service.

IBM also predicts that in semi-literate populations, people will use low-cost mobile phones, the user interfaces of which will be voice-based - greatly expanding their connectivity to people and data.

To take advantage of the opportunities offered by the mobile Internet, the study says many Mobile Device Makers (MDMs) may need to transform from device-driven to service-driven companies.

Handset sales have reached saturation point in emerging markets, therefore compelling MDMs to move to higher-end devices that enable more services. This could bring a double boost to earnings and revenue as it raises the average device price point and provides MDMs a cross-sell opportunity to high margin services.

About the study: The online survey conducted by InstantSurvey was fielded among a representative sample of 680 adults in USA, Germany, China, India and Japan in the first quarter of 2008.

*IBM Institute for Business Value analysis

**IBM Institute for Business Value based on "The search wars are going mobile." eMarketer.com. July 17, 2007.

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