As we approach the 30th anniversary of the first ever mobile phone call made in the UK, our collective dependency on mobile services continues to rise.
Our fourth annual edition of the UK Mobile Consumer survey analyses the five key sub trends that we see happening in the mobile industry. Some key findings include:
Read our chapter summaries below and download the report to find out more.
As 4G approaches its second birthday in the UK, it is enjoying fast take-up rates, with subscriber numbers likely to exceed ten million by the end of the year, more than treble the number at the end of 2013. This year, among a much larger base of 4G subscribers, watching video had fallen to seventh place (see Figure 1). The number of respondents watching more video since subscribing to 4G has declined from 49% last year to 21% in 2014.
Over the years, app stores have passed some impressive milestones: one hundred billion apps downloaded by July 2013, two million apps available by October 2013, and the first app to hit one billion downloads on one app store by May 2014. However, app downloads have declined meaning there may be a need to consider generating new sources of revenue with advertising topping the opportunity stakes.
Instant messaging (IM) services have grabbed the headlines in 2014 because of their valuations as well as their volumes. Almost a half of respondents in the 18-34 age group had used IMs within the previous seven days. But the SMS era is far from over and the two services are often used together. As more consumers become acquainted with using apps for communicating, they may also embrace Voice over IP (VoIP) as a substitute for standard voice calling.
While most mobile transfer services in the UK are dominated by the banks, mobile payment apps are at an earlier stage of development and mobile operators still have a chance to capture this market. However they need to be aware that for many shoppers, using mobile payment apps will not seem any more convenient than contactless cards, and many may defer using them until the benefits become clear.
We don’t seem able to leave our phones alone. The waking routine of most smartphone owners now involves checking who has been in touch with them overnight. With more than two in three UK adults owning a smartphone, an increasing number of consumers are using their smartphone for tasks that were previously available online only on PCs. As smartphone users deem Internet access to be essential, their priorities for connectivity change and the opportunity arises for a mobile network to make uninterrupted internet connectivity their competitive advantage.