October 23, 2008 00:01 ET
IBM Study Finds Consumers Prefer a Mobile Device Over the PC
ARMONK, NY--(Marketwire - October 23, 2008) - IBM (NYSE: IBM) today released new survey
results which reveal that over 50 percent of consumers would substitute
their Internet usage on a PC for a mobile device. Expanding on the May 2008
"Go Mobile, Grow" study produced by IBM's Institute for Business Value, the
survey identifies new findings that validate previous conclusions on how
consumers will be open to full adoption of the mobile device as the hub for
IBM surveyed 600 consumers in the United States, China and the United
Kingdom on their preferences regarding the mobile Internet. The survey
found that communication, travel and navigation applications, as well as
news and information services, are expected to increase significantly in
popularity and usage over the mobile Internet. With the world's population
of mobile-phone users expected to increase from the current 50 percent to
80 percent in 2013, which translates to a staggering 5.8 billion people(1),
the availability of IP wireless broadband and more affordable devices will
change the way companies around the world operate and relate to their
customers, employees and partners.
"Worldwide adoption of the mobile phone as the preferred device for
accessing the Internet is just around the corner," said Dr. Sungyoul Lee,
Global Consulting Leader, Electronics Industry, IBM. "With 70 percent of
consumers worldwide who believe that the mobile Internet has the potential
to add significant to moderate value to their day-to-day lives, the time is
now for companies to develop intuitive applications and services that allow
people of all ages to effortlessly access and use the Internet while on the
go -- anytime, and anywhere."
By 2011, 39 percent of respondents said they expect to increase Internet
use on their mobile device by at least 40 percent. The Chinese consumers
polled lead the world as the fastest adopting society of the mobile web.
This finding is in synch with IBM's previous hypothesis that within
emerging and leading edge markets, the mobile platform will be the primary
way of interacting with businesses and institutions. These countries have
in many cases leapfrogged the PC era and are routinely using their mobile
devices for a variety of consumer services.
71 percent of respondents acknowledged that they expect to increase their
usage of communication services such as obtaining maps and directions,
instant messaging, social networking, emailing and reading the news from
their mobile device. Growth markets like China and India are leading this
adoption at a rapid pace and are proving to be the most open towards mobile
internet than the mature markets. The survey found that consumers still
prefer to execute services such as banking, stock trading, shopping and
general search on the PC rather than a mobile device.
The mobile Internet is the most popular among Generation X and Generation
Y, as they tend to be more technology savvy and have a greater exposure and
acceptance of emerging technologies. Over 50 percent of respondents who
chose "Strong to Full substitution" of accessing the PC versus a mobile
device were 15-30 years old and believe the industry is doing its best to
advance the mobile Web, although most are still unsatisfied with the price
and services offered by carriers and handset manufacturers.
Consumers are most loyal to their preferred brands for communication
services such as email and instant messaging, but the survey found a lack
of loyalty for entertainment services. Over 50 percent would like to use
the same brand on their PC and mobile device when emailing, banking and
While there is an overall consensus that the industry is doing its bit for
mobile Web, more consumers desire greater affordability, awareness and
better content and applications for the mobile Internet. In terms of
device features, the survey found consumers prefer a large screen, high
resolution, internal memory, and quick speed data transfer as the most
important and desired features in their mobile device.
Implications and Recommendations
In order to stimulate and increase mobile Internet adoption, device makers,
mobile operators, Internet service providers, mobile application developers
and content providers need to consider the following:
- Define their mobile Internet strategy by understanding consumer
behaviors and needs to identify the strategy that best leverages their core
- Transform their business model to align with the identified mobile
internet strategy: this touches areas such as Research & Development,
Marketing & Sales or Services Delivery.
- Establish and host a reliable, cost-efficient and scalable
infrastructure to deliver mobile internet services to consumers.
- Improve devices in terms of processing power, memory, resolution,
screen size and intuitive user interfaces. Specifically device makers need
to think about how to integrate technologies such as nano projectors and
projected virtual keyboards.
- Move towards a high adoption of open standards and open source to
further grow and nurture the ecosystem.
About IBM and the Mobile Web
The mobile web provides people with access to the Internet anytime and
anywhere mobile phone service is available -- at its most basic, it enables
you to browse the Internet with a mobile device.
IBM envisions a substantial build-out of the mobile Web and a significant
shift in the way the majority of people will interact with the Web over the
next 5-10 years. IBM's own business think-tank predicts the Mobile Web
market for consumer services such as entertainment and email is expected to
reach $80 billion by 2011, more than 36 percent annual growth.
IBM Survey Methodology
The online survey conducted by NetReflector was fielded among a
representative sample of 600 adults in USA, China, and the UK in the third
quarter of 2008. The results can be considered statistically significant
at the 95 percent confidence level and have a margin of error of +/- 0.0138
(1) Portio Research