research study conducted by Lodestar Universal across10,000 respondents in the age group 16-54, from 21 markets in five continents, shows the trend of mobile phones rapidly converging from voice devices to multipurpose data gadgets. Globally, there is growing demand for devices that deliver all in one solutions, which include mobile, camera, gaming, music and video applications.
India is ranked fourth in the world, with 70 per cent users agreeing with the statement that they like the idea of one portable device that fulfils all their needs. The other top markets driving the demand for convergence are mostly emerging markets: Mexico ranks at the top with a massive 79 per cent, and Malaysia and Brazil follow with 73 per cent each. The markets where convergence is least popular are all affluent. For instance, Japan has only 27 per cent demand for convergence, and the US has just 31 per cent. According to the research study, this may indicate that the demand for convergence is driven more by financial necessity than by aspirational values.
The global average of penetration of cell phones with music players is 50 per cent. India has a higher number of cell phones with music player function than both Japan and the US. The Indian percentage is 45 as compared to 27 and 18 per cent, respectively, for Japan and the US. But when it comes to camera use, Japan has far higher percentage figures than both India and the US. India and the US fail to reach 60 per cent penetration figures for camera use, with 59 and 50 per cent penetration, respectively. Japan, on the other hand, ranks third with close to 87 per cent users.
Globally, text messaging remains the most popular mobile application with over 90 per cent penetration. Taking photos, MMS, videos and sending photos are next after text messaging, all scoring over the 50 per cent mark. Emerging concepts such as live TV, electronic payment and video calls still remain niche with around 10 per cent penetration.
The leading markets in the world that have embraced the phone beyond its capacity to make calls include Japan, Greece and Italy, with 48, 46 and 43 per cent average use, respectively, across all applications. India doesn't lie far behind and has close to 33 per cent average use, higher than Australia, France, Germany, Taiwan and the US. Also, 43 per cent of the global sample users intend to obtain a 3G phone in the future - a phone that will offer a wide range of services such as high speed Internet and video telephony.
The level of mobile use and penetration indicated by the study shows how the mobile phone is evolving from being just a communications device and how it holds promise for content creators and marketers in creating user generated content.
The emerging technologies that have low overall reach due to technology constraints, such as electronic payment, video calling and live TV, have been adopted with huge enthusiasm by those users who can access them.