Consumers are increasingly opting to embrace a lifestyle that can be operated with your mobile phone, according to the latest Deloitte survey on mobile consumer trends. Once considered device obsession, American consumers are now relying on their devices more than ever for everything from making financial payments, to tracking health and lifestyle factors, to managing home environments. Released today, this year’s U.S. edition of the “Global Mobile Consumer Survey” – the biggest and most extensive in its five year history, reveals unexpected areas for future growth and opportunities that could help unlock the full potential of mobile devices across a wider range of uses.
“Mobile technology is now moving beyond simply being a mode of communication and advancing towards the era of the always-connected consumer,” said Craig Wigginton, vice chairman and U.S telecommunications sector leader, Deloitte & Touche LLP. “As the lines that define mobile usage continue to blur, industries are now poised with seemingly endless opportunities to calibrate and develop solutions and products aimed at monitoring, recording, and communicating factors critical to our surroundings and well-being, all through the simplicity of a swipe or touch of a screen.”
In-store mobile payments nearly quadruple
This year’s survey results showed a dramatic increase in the use of mobile phones to make in-store payments with a nearly four-fold increase from 5 percent in 2014 to 18 percent today. At the same time, it remains the largest untapped opportunity for device usage with approximately 1 in 5 consumers using their phone to make a payment in-store. The most popular uses of mobile payments were for public parking (19 percent), gas station purchases (18 percent), coffee shops and fast food dining (17 percent each). Among the other most frequently cited uses, the survey finds that nearly one-third of those that browse shopping websites make an online purchase using their mobile phone. Consumers between the ages of 25 to 34 were seen as driving the largest portion of mobile payment activity at 36 percent, with age groups 45 to 74 accounting for less than 10 percent.
“Things” emerge in the Internet of Things (IoT)
For the first time, car-based IoT generated considerable interest with 68 percent of respondents expressing interest in this area. It eclipsed home-based IoT technologies by 15 percent and personal-IoT (e.g., wearables) by 9 percent.
However, willingness to pay for home- or car-based IoT conveys a slightly different picture. On average, 58 percent of consumers are willing to pay for home-based IoT, (versus 55 percent for car-based IoT). Nevertheless, consumers may be more willing to pay for low-interest areas within home- and car-based IoT – if these areas provide higher value or are more cutting edge.
Also new this year, interest in autonomous cars ranks far higher than new products typically achieve with 58 percent of consumers considering eventually owning or riding in one. One in 5 consumers under the age of 44 are ready to own one now. The stresses of driving (i.e., safety) emerged as the clear rationale for interest in autonomous vehicles.
Other areas showing positive signs for growth are smart-utilities and smart-home. In fact, a smartphone was used by 14 percent of respondents for checking electricity and gas usage. Similarly, 14 percent of those surveyed used their phone to change the temperature in their home, 13 percent to adjust lighting and 12 percent to turn on heat/air conditioning. Considering there are approximately 123 million households in the U.S., these figures equate into approximately 15 to 17 million people using smart-home and smart-utility functions at least weekly.
Desire for greater confidence in security and understanding of value of mobile payments
To enable greater adoption rates in mobile payments, abating security concerns will be a top priority. Despite industry data that shows mPayments as more secure than other traditional payment methods, half of the survey’s respondents cited security concerns as the main reason for not using mobile devices for in-store payments. In a related finding, consumers indicated they place the greatest trust in traditional financial intuitions like banks (49 percent) for in-store payments vs. other providers.
The survey also notes that while often lumped together with privacy, security concerns trumped privacy issues when it comes to the use of smart home IoT. Forty eight percent of consumers said their greatest potential concern was a security-related hacking into a home system to cause damage or theft vs. the highest ranking privacy concern – protecting personal information – cited by only 33 percent of respondents. Surprisingly, the youngest and oldest demographic recorded in the survey – 18 to 24 year olds and those 65 or older – shared the same greatest concern for security-related issues at 53 percent vs. privacy-related issues at 35 percent for 18 to 24 year olds and 33 percent for those age 65 or older.
Consumers rate device and service cost as key factors driving carrier preference; trade-in programs yet to reach full potential
In terms of driving carrier preference, the importance of device cost has increased to 22 percent, up from 13 percent in 2014, while concern over service fees has decreased slightly to 23 percent down from 26 percent in 2014. Video and voice over IP, two of the most anticipated services on the market in the last several years, have experienced the largest decline in usage at 21 percent and 18 percent, respectively.
When it comes to device purchase and trade-ins, online smartphone sales account for slightly less than one-third of all sales, which is flat year over year from 2014. Despite a robust industry, the smartphone trade-in programs only capture 21 percent of the available market share. Nearly 60 percent of consumers do not seek money for their phone, with 37 percent keeping it as a spare.
For more information on the U.S. edition of Deloitte’s “Global Mobile Consumer Survey,” please visit www.deloitte.com/us/mobileconsumer.
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