Mobile is a 'remote control' for life: Synovate

MUMBAI: Three quarters of mobile phone owners across 11 markets never leave home without their phone while a third ’cannot live without it’. Meanwhile, 67 per cent regularly use the alarm clock feature, reveals global market research firm Synovate.


Synovate’s global head of media Steve Garton said that these small-but-powerful devices are so ubiquitous that by last year, more human beings owned one than did not.

"This sheer volume, coupled with enormous marketing potential that is just starting to be realised, means that marketers need to understand as much as possible about how people use their phones, how they feel about them - and what they want more of. One very important point about the marketing potential of the phone is that people tend to classify the mobile phone differently to mainstream media like television, radio, print, outdoor and even the internet. Most people do not think of phones as a media platform at all," Garton says.

Synovate surveyed over 8,000 mobile phone owners across 11 markets to find out more.

Me, myself and my mobile: The Synovate survey showed how much people depend on their phones. Three quarters of the 8,000 plus respondents never leave home without their phones (led by 92 per cent of Russians and 89 per cent of Singaporeans) and more than a third (36 per cent) go as far as to say they cannot live without their mobile (topped by 60 per cent of Taiwanese and 49 per cent of Singaporean respondents).

Synovate MD in Taiwan Jenny Chang said that there, the mobile is part remote control, part security blanket.

Chang averred, "Mobiles give us safety, security and instant access to information. They are the number one tool of communication for us, sometimes even surpassing face-to-face communication. They are our connections to our lives."

The survey also asked people that ‘if lost, which would be harder to replace your mobile phone or wallet / purse?‘ and found a quarter (25 per cent) of all respondents nominated their mobile.

Garton said, "The mobile has yet to take over the wallet or purse as the absolute epicentre of people’s lives but it is certainly on the way.

"This is happening now, for example, in the Philippines and Africa where millions of dollars have been transacted via mobile. The telco has effectively become a bank, allowing even those in rural areas to send and receive mobile money. This is just one of the huge benefits which are changing lives in developing nations," Garton added.

Russians were most likely to nominate the mobile phone as the biggest replacement challenge - one in two would find it extremely difficult to replace. 39 per cent of Russian respondents said their wallet or purse and 11 per cent were undecided.

Synovate’s director of marketing communications for Russia, Maria Vakatova, put this down to the sociability of Russians and the inconvenience of losing a phone.

Vakatova said, "Typically Russians buy a more expensive phone than they can afford - it’s a status thing. They are also emotionally attached to their phones - there are irreplaceable pictures, videos and so on that people probably don’t have copies of on computers. This loss would be devastating."

The Philippines was the closest market to being split on the issue, with 47 per cent saying their mobile phone would be harder to replace and 52 per cent choosing the wallet/purse.

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