Mobile phones with Infotainment apps to grow: TNS

MUMBAI: The custom research company, TNS, has launched the sixth-edition of TNS Mobile Life 2011, a global research study about mobile consumer.

The findings reveal that besides "static" functionality such as SMS and still imaging, growth will be driven through further demand for social functionality and new demands for video calling, streaming and sharing services.
The number of mobile web users visiting social networking sites grew from 30 per cent to 46 per cent globally, and from 26 per cent to 50 per cent in emerging markets, leapfrogging much of the developed markets.

In India, with current users accounting for only 3 per cent, social networking is expected to grow significantly with 23 per cent users interested in making use of this service from their handsets.

The company has said that only 18 per cent of consumers globally managed to upload photos or video directly to the web from their mobiles during the same period, but a further 44 per cent would be interested in doing so in future. In India, only 4 per cent of mobile users make use of this feature but a good 34 per cent are interested
Consumers in emerging markets are more likely to want to upload content (49 per cent), but more than half (55 per cent) do not have the ability to do so.

TNS India senior vice president, technology and B2B Parijat Chakraborty said, "With consumer preferences shifting in favour of other form factors, handset manufacturers and content providers will need to make their product range feature rich and at the same time engaging for the young consumers with infotainment services like stream music, live TV, video, access to social networking sites being some of the key growth avenues."

According to TNS, these findings are a result of more than 25,000 hours of interviews with over 34,000 respondents in 43 countries. In India, this study was conducted across 30 cities covering over 5000 respondents. It provides a complete understanding of consumer experiences with mobility today and insights into how this will change tomorrow.  
Stated TNS managing director, global technology sector James Fergusson, "With mobiles increasingly becoming the primary device for internet access and communication, particularly in emerging markets, entertainment and multimedia features are a key requirement for engaging with consumers. Handset manufacturers need to ensure that entertainment offers, particularly mobile music, gaming, pictures, video and social networking are available and easy to access. Many are missing a trick in not bringing more smartphones to market in high-growth countries."

TNS also says that many emerging market users have outpaced their western counterparts and there is a leading demand for the latest mobile technologies.

Camera features may have reached a saturation point, growing only 1 per cent between 2010 and 2011, but nearly a quarter of global consumers (24 per cent) say the ability to take and share pictures and video will play a major role in their choice of next device.

According to the findings, 31 per cent consumers in India indicate that the ability to take and share pictures and video will play a major role in their choice of next device coming a close second to the handset‘s ability to store music (34 per cent).

TNS Mobile Life shows that the strongest growth in new services in the last 12 months has come from social video (10 per cent to 15 per cent) and Live TV (9 per cent to 12 per cent). Over half of consumers (54 per cent) are interested in video calling despite not yet using the service and half are interested in watching live TV (50 per cent) or in downloading or streaming video (48 per cent).

In Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa, demand for Live TV in particular is higher still, reaching upwards of 70 per cent. "Emerging Tier 1 markets, such as China, Brazil and UAE already have penetration levels that match mature markets," Fergusson continues. "Multimedia content presents an opportunity to leverage growth potential in emerging economies. Income constraints in many of these markets ensure the importance of imaging and video services through mobiles increases."

Across developed (44 per cent) and emerging (77 per cent) markets, handset brand is considered an important factor in product decision making. Content brands, however, are building equity in the mobile ecosystem, with more than 1 in 4 global consumers saying content and apps are a key consideration at the point of purchase.

In India, handset brands (36 per cent) are considered an important factor in product decision making and have maintained their commitment. However, content brands (29 per cent to 37 per cent) have leapfrogged and overpowered network brands (35 to 27 per cent) in the last 12 months.

"Emergence of content as a strong contender in the entire ecosystem further reiterates the need to adopt a more collaborative approach in order to achieve sustained growth," adds Chakraborty.

The results from TNS Mobile Life show that as markets mature, key purchase influencers shift to content and application offerings, along with operating system. Providing desirable content - and engaging with local partners where appropriate--is a clear opportunity to capture equity in markets where content brand share is low, but increasing.

Partnerships will become increasingly important as handset manufacturers look to maintain market share as tablets are just beginning to appear in the horizon in the Indian market. Fortunately, for handset manufacturers, consumer‘s intention to purchase a tablet is low and at the same time is viewed either as a complementary device or as a replacement for a PC, rather than a mobile.

Said Fergusson, "While there has been previous research into mobility, Mobile Life has truly set a precedent in its scope, depth and breadth of information on mobile consumers‘ behaviour and decision influences. The study reveals significant breakthroughs and detailed analyses of the interests, key drivers and influencers in consumers‘ purchase decisions across the globe."

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