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Inside
the Mind
of the
‘Wired’
Mobile Phone
Buyer
Webchutney works with leading companies in India by developing
award winning and memorable experiences for brands to connect,
engage with and build sustained relationships with their
consumers online.
Our clients include Unilever, P&G, HP, Airtel and Microsoft among
others. We work with them in areas of online advertising, website
design, mobile marketing and social media.
Ranked as India’s Number 1 Digital Agency two years in a row
(Brand Equity Agency Reckoner, The Economic Times, 2008 &
2009), Webchutney is committed to leading the interactive
marketing industry.
We are a team of over 150 digital marketing professionals across
New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.
Visit us at www.webchutney.com for more information.
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©2010 Webchutney Studio Pvt. Ltd. All rights reserved.
ContentsContents
Note: The term ‘Intender’ denotes respondents who are online mobile
phone owners and intend to purchase a mobile phone
Introduction ........................................................................................... 2
Executive Summary ................................................................................. 4
THE ‘CONNECTED’ INDIAN MOBILE PHONE USER.................................... 6
Substantial Mobile Phone Usage among Online Indians........................... 7
Internet is a Predominant Medium in Online Mobile Users’ Daily Lives ..... 10
PURCHASE INTENT AMONG ONLINE MOBILE OWNERS .......................... 13
Purchase Intent is Strong Despite High Level of Ownership ...................... 14
Replacement Demand Drives High Purchase Intent .................................. 15
DRIVING PURCHASE DECISIONS FROM THE LIVING ROOM ...................... 16
Internet is Most Reliable Medium to Research Information....................... 17
Perception of Internet among Online Mobile Intenders............................ 19
Search Engines and Consumer Review Sites Enable In-Depth Research
for Online Mobile Phone Intenders.......................................................... 20
Rationale for Preference of Online Channels for Mobile Related Research. 22
LEVERAGING ONLINE INFLUENCERS FOR GREATER BRAND VALUE ........... 23
Online Significant in Influencing BrandPreferences and Consideration...... 24
Consumer Review Sites are an Important Tool for Information Exchange.. 25
Potential to Create Positive Brand Impact through the Net is Immense..... 26
IN CONCLUSION: SEIZING THE OPPORTUNITY ........................................ 28
Final Takeaways for Mobile Phone Marketers ........................................... 29
Methodology.......................................................................................... 32
About the Authors.................................................................................. 33
2
Introduction
The Indian telecom sector has reached a watershed moment with the
world's second largest mobile network (over 635 million wireless
subscribers) and telecom subscriber base (671 million connections, growing
1
each month with 16 million subscribers) . Boasting of the lowest tariffs and
cell phone rates in the world coupled with the recent launch of third
generation mobile services (3G) across 9 Indian states, this sector plays a
pivotal role in the world's fastest growing Information and Communications
2
Technology (ICT) market. With its contribution of 1.5% to India's GDP and
the massive interest evinced by international players in the Indian telecom
market, the high growth trajectory of this sector is an important milestone
in the socio-economic development of India.
From the time when India's first mobile phone was launched for Rs 40,000
approximately, and an outgoing call would cost a hefty Rs. 16-17 per
minute, the rise and evolution of India’s telecom and mobile phone sector
has been exponential. Privatization, technological innovations, rise in
disposable incomes and pro-industry policies undertaken by the
government have put the sector on the superhighway of growth. At the
same time, cut throat competition amongst an increasing number of
players has given birth to price wars resulting in aggressive slashing of call
rates and advent of per second billing. In a fiercely cluttered and
competitive market where the Indian consumer is spoilt for choice amongst
mobile handsets and network service providers, generating visibility,
catering to consumer preferences and creating top-of-mind recall have
become formidable and eminent challenges for marketers.
In such a scenario, rather than counting on traditional, one-way mediums
of communication to influence existing and prospective consumers, a
different approach towards cutting through the clutter and leveraging
influencers with breakthrough innovation summon immediate attention.
Indian consumers curate information from multiple sources which is
typically product-related research and the internet has emerged as a
prominent resource. In an industry where technological innovation is rapid,
the need to provide accurate and timely information about the latest
handset/plan becomes crucial for consumers to choose one brand over
another. The internet, with its innate ability to provide access to a reservoir
of information in various forms, is becoming the preferred choice for
consumers using social platforms to compare, cull and voice their opinion
to influence each other while sourcing relevant information.
Evidently, while some mobile and telecom players have started taking note
of the untapped potential of the medium and are investing their marketing
efforts online, the scale and depth of these measures remain limited to a
great extent. Brands that haven't looked beyond traditional media are losing
out on potential access to 50 million Indians online and the opportunity to
expand existing/acquire new consumer base. The online consumer base in
India is a discerning lot which has significant experience in usage of this
medium. Their consumption of media and information is more active than
passive and most of them already own a mobile phone and intend to
purchase another one soon. Mobile and telecom marketers have the
opportunity to harness the power of this group to convert them as self-
serving evangelists through tactical and meaningful brand engagement.
Inside the Mind of the 'Wired' Mobile Phone Buyer takes a close look at the
growing influence of Internet in driving purchase intention/decisions among
online mobile users in India, while mapping their preference, attitude and
usage of the medium. It equips mobile phone marketers with deep insights
to existing and prospective consumers' online behaviour, which will guide
and help them determine the way forward in adopting the digital medium
at the core of their future branding/marketing efforts.
3
1
Department of Telecom (DoT)
2
Minister of State (Communication & Information Technology), Shri Gurudas Kamat
Executive Summary
It remains a fact that mobile has emerged as an effective interactive
avenue blurring socio-economic and geographical boundaries across the
urban-rural chasm as more than 50% of India's population are mobile
3
subscribers . While access to smart phones may not have taken the country
by a storm, access to basic and upgraded models of handsets is a reality
before us. Affordability of telecom products and services in India are
reasons for their widespread prevalence and ownership amongst upper
echelons of society as well as middle classes and now to a large extent
amongst lower socio-economic classes too.
4
3
IAMAI
*Refer Methodology
5
Year On Year Increase in Wireless Subscriber Base
(Urban & Rural) (in Millions)
Source: IAMAI *Figures do not include Rural Wireless Base
Online mobile users are young with maximum in the 19-35 years age
group*, prosperous and possess disposable income as well as desire to
purchase newer and more number of mobile handsets. In a market like
mobile phones, where clutter exists in terms of competition as well as
marketing strategies, new media emerges as a relatively clutter-free and
engaging choice for the marketers to interact with customers and
gather visibility.
Our report highlights the growing impact of the internet with a whopping
89% online mobile intenders relying on this medium as the primary source
of information for mobile-related research. Brand/company websites,
search engines and consumer review websites are popular avenues to
conduct this research. 71% indicate they have shared mobile related
experiences online and 63% admit to have been influenced by such online
reviews, opinions and experiences.
Added to this, out of all online mobile owners, 80% intend to purchase
another mobile phone. What does this mean for a mobile phone marketer
looking to consolidate and expand its user base in a fiercely competitive
and cluttered market? Based on survey results, it is abundantly clear that
there exists a strong prospective customer base online which is
opinionated, does not hesitate to share positive or negative experience
among online peers freely and is an extremely critical resource for mobile
phone marketers to help reach and influence target audiences effectively.
The onus of engaging this discerning customer base online lies with
marketers who need to create immersive and customized experiences that
are appealing and help promote positive buzz and brand image. Websites
and display ads are just the first step in achieving this end, and it is time
for marketers to expand the scope of their digital marketing strategies to
grab attention and a larger market share.
Year Subscriber Base
Mar-07 165
Mar-08 261
Mar-09 392
Mar-10 584*
Apr-10 601*
The ‘Connected’
Indian Mobile
Phone User
Substantial Mobile Phone Usage
among Online Indians
There are a whopping 47.5million online mobile phone owners in India
today. While the overall national-level penetration of mobile phones in
India is at 26.5%, the relative penetration of mobile phones amongst
online Indians is at 95% indicating that this group is highly mobile phone
savvy. Accessing internet through mobile phones is increasingly on the rise
and a vast variety of online activities are being pursued through it.
7
81% online mobile users own a GSM phone and a whopping 98% use
prepaid connection over a postpaid one. With Mobile Number Portability in
the offing, the cost of switching from one telecom service provider to
another would be completely eliminated allowing users to hop freely among
competitors while retaining the same number. This will intensify the war
among mobile and telecom service providers to retain their current consumer
base apart from increasing it further, and the need to create stronger recall
value, increase brand consideration and maintain differentiation could
become a formidable challenge in this saturated category.
Penetration of mobile
phones amongst online Indians
Penetration of mobile phones
amongst Indians 26%
95%
Source: Juxt Consult India Online Report 2010
8
Source: Juxt India Online & India Mobile 2010 Report
4
Juxt Consult India Online and India Mobile Reports 2010
Entertainment in the form of social networking features as a significant
activity pursued online through mobile phones. The launch of iPhone and a
deluge of other technology intensive smart phones has given birth to a vast
variety of applications that provide users' information and entertainment to
keep them hooked and engaged. It is safe to say that online mobile users in
India is a matured, discerning group which is exceptionally aware and
conscious of trends in the mobile segment.
9
Most online Indians use their mobile phones as a 'communication' as well as
an 'entertainment' device, and 1 in 4 online Indians access the internet
4
through their mobile phone. 'WAP enabled' data services and 'GPRS activated'
direct browsing are the most popular mode of mobile internet usage.
While 77% online mobile users access internet through their mobile phone
for emailing, 60% use it for social networking and 54% for chatting.
Increasing mobility of online Indians and enabling technologies such as smart
phones with internet access helps them stay connected while on the move.
Type of Connection
used amongst
Online Mobile Users
Prepaid
Postpaid 2%
98%
CDMA
GSM
19%
81%
98% Online Mobile Phone Users’ Frequency of
Pursuing Various Activities on their Phones
Daily 4-5 times/week 2-3 times/week Fortnightly/Monthly
Source: Webchutney Digital Mobile & Telecom Survey 2010
33% 23% 21% 23%
25% 23% 24% 29%
38% 21% 18% 23%
45% 23% 17% 15%
52% 19% 17% 11%
56% 17% 15% 11%
65% 13% 12% 10%
Watching videos
Downloading music
Chat
Email
Gaming
Search for information
(products/services)
Social Networking
For mobile phone marketers, mere online presence cannot push sales or
ensure an entry into consumers' consideration set, typically when both
features and services are easily replicated by competing forces. A conscious
and sustained effort to engage consumers using the interactive medium
can go a long way in informing and influencing online audiences about the
presence, service offerings and efficacy of a brand.
Type of Mobile Phone
used amongst
Online Mobile Users
Source: Webchutney Digital Mobile & Telecom Survey 2010
Activities Pursued through Mobile Internet
among Online Mobile Users
Email
Social
Networking
Searchfor
Information
60%
77%
Watching
Videos
53%
48%53%
Gaming
Others
4%
Downloading
Music
48%
Chat
54%
11
72% online mobile users have been using the internet for more than 2
years. This indicates maturity and valuable experience in the use of the
medium specifically with respect to ease in searching/looking for
information online conveniently.
Experience in Internet Usage of Online Mobile Users
10
Internet is a Predominant Medium
in Online Mobile Users' Daily Lives
The number of online mobile users spending 2 hours or more on the net on
a weekday is almost double the number of those watching television for a
similar duration. Maximum online mobile users spend time on the net in
comparison to other traditional media forms like radio, magazines and
newspapers which trail far behind. Heavy internet usage can be attributed
to the possibility of engaging in a vast variety of activities and unlimited
interaction across demographies that can be pursued online.
Source: Juxt India Online & India Mobile 2010 Report
87% online mobile users access the internet at least once daily while
immersing themselves in a variety of online activities. This frequency is
indicative of how internet forms an integral part of this group’s lives and
explains their consequent reliance on it.
Source: Juxt India Online & India Mobile 2010 Report
Frequency of Internet Access amongst
Online Mobile Users
Once in more than a month
1-3 times a month
Once a week
Once in 2-3 days
Once daily
2-5 times a day
Over 5 times a day
1%
3%
1%
7%
30%
31%
26%
Comparative Usage of
Traditional Media Vs Internet* (Weekdays)
Internet TV Magazine
26%
51%
Newspaper
15%
4%7%
Radio
*Data indicates media usage of 2 hours of more
More than
5 years
Up to 2 years
2-5 years
47%
28%
25%
Source: Juxt India Online & India Mobile 2010 Report
PURCHASE
INTENT AMONG
ONLINE MOBILE
OWNERS &
INTENDERS
13
Search
Purchase Intent among
Online Mobile Owners
With a large number of online mobile intenders logging onto search
engines and social networking websites for more than an hour daily, it is a
clear reflection of their online habits, behaviour and preferences. Online
mobile intenders are on a constant lookout for information and with rapid
launch of newer models of mobile phones, the search for information,
particularly comparison of desired features and models becomes important.
Source: Webchutney Digital Mobile & Telecom Survey 2010
Usage of Online Channels among
Online Mobile Intenders
In a cluttered market like telecom, new media such as the internet emerges
as a relatively clutter-free choice for the marketers to interact with
customers and gain enhanced visibility. The medium offers inimitable
avenues for interactive, personal and measurable engagement with relevant
audiences, unlike any other media.
Upto 1 hour daily More than 1 hour daily
Around 2-3 times a week Once a week
Once a month or as and when required
Social
Networking
Sites
Consumer
Review
Websites
Company/
Brand
Websites
Online
Communities/
Blogs
Search
Engines
34%
20%
6%
7%
32% 8%
19%
41%
13%
19%
20%
39%
21%
19%
36%
2%
45%
37%
6%
11%
14%
18%
9% 12%
12%
12
14
Replacement Demand Drives
High Purchase Intent
Among online mobile phone owners, a vast majority have owned their device
for a year or more. We also observe 77% online mobile intenders expressing
desire to purchase a new phone within a short span of just 6 months.
One of the major reasons for high repeat/replacement demand could be
attributed to the
entry and appeal of smartphones and transition from traditional
handsets to new-age devices like PDAs, touchscreen and QWERTY mobiles.
These have become major factors in influencing a discerning online mobile
phone user to trade-up their old handsets for new ones.
An attractive opportunity exists for mobile phone marketers to tap this
segment online through unique engagement while adding brand value and
increasing brand consideration.
growing tide of low-cost mobile phones, enhanced product
categories,
Purchase Intent is Strong Despite
High Level of Ownership
According to Gartner, an estimated 117 million mobile phones were
sold in 2009-10 in India while the expected figure for 2010-11 is 138.6
million. With low cost mobile brands competing with market leaders by
providing perceived high-end features for less, the demand for mobile
phones has increased exponentially across rural and urban India.
At the same time, the trend of owning multiple mobile phones is
catching up fast in India which could be linked with the growing desire
to keep official and personal communication separate. Our survey
indicates 80% of online mobile phone owners intend to purchase a cell
phone. Rise in disposable income as well as monthly household
incomes, along with the influx of devices to suit every pocket in the 15
years of existence of this market could be a reason for such high
repeat/re-purchase demand. For many Indians, mobile is the 'first
screen' they are exposed to, even before television or internet.
Purchase Intention
of Online Mobile Users
Source: Webchutney Digital Mobile & Telecom Survey 2010 (Base: 2028)
Owner
Non-Intender
Current Owner
plus Intender
80%
20%
34%
25%
22%
11%
LessthanRs6250
Rs.6250-Rs12500
Rs25000-Rs40000
Rs40000-Rs80000
5%
Rs12500-Rs25000
2% 2%
Rs80000-Rs100,000
Morethan100,000
Monthly Household Income of
Online Mobile Users
15
Source: Webchutney Digital Mobile & Telecom Survey 2010 (Base: 1626)
Time period within which Mobile
Phone Purchase is Intended
Within 3
months
3-6
months
9-12
months
7%
6-9
months
46%
31%
10%
After 1
year
6%
Less than
3 months back
6 months
back
1 year
back
6-12 months
back
More than
1 year back
14%
23% 20%
14%
30%
Duration of Mobile Phone Ownership
Driving Purchase
Decisions From
The Living Room
Survey results indicate a whopping 89% mobile intenders online vouch
for internet as the most reliable medium to look for information on
mobile phones. The shift from dealers and mobile phone showrooms as
the conventionally trusted source of information is evident with only 53%
indicating preference for information through this source.
Owing to the vast variety in mobile phone models and features, coupled
with rapid technological upgradations, mobile phones fall high in the
involvement product category, necessitating considerable time and
energy spent in researching about them to make a final decision.
Another aspect for consideration is the fact that today discussions and
conversations that used to take place offline have started taking place
over the net, typically with the rise of social networking sites and other
platforms enabling exchange of news, views and reviews, including those
on mobile phones.
Internet is Most Reliable Medium
to Research Information
17
Driving Purchase
Decisions From
The Living Room
Source: Webchutney Digital Mobile & Telecom Survey 2010 (Base: 1626)
Internet Friends
& Family
Dealer/
Mobile
Phone
showroom
Newspaper/
Magazine
Ad hoardings
on road
sides/bus
stop
53%
89%
62%
55%
38%
Preferred Source of Information for Mobile Phone
Related Research among Online Intenders
Radio Other
20%
13%
2%
TV
18
With 53% preference, clearly the role of mobile phone dealers in
influencing consumers' purchase decisions has diminished, more so as the
zeroing in on the mobile handset brand and model today takes place
much before a consumer enters the dealer's place. Rise in preference
towards internet as a mode of research indicates evolution of empowered
consumers, who are more in control of pre-purchase research, thereby
making informed purchase decisions for themselves.
Online mobile users’ preference towards internet over traditional media
could be attributed to the vast engagement opportunities provided by the
medium. Also, internet scores over other media in terms of variety of
forms and topics on which information can be sourced, accessed and
hunted from the comfort of one's home. Its interactive nature helps draw
responses from people, making them an integral part of brand's
communication and campaign.
There is a strong link between online mobile intenders' preference for
internet as an information source and inherent characteristics of the
medium making it popular. 82% mobile intenders believe internet helps
them get a better idea about all the mobile handsets/service providers
in the market, while 71% are of the opinion that it entails access to
updated information, which is critical for this category.
Scope for in-depth research (50%), third party view (47%) and easy and
convenient access to information are other reasons in favor of
this medium.
(46%)
19
Perception of Internet among
Online Mobile Intenders
Source: Webchutney Digital Mobile & Telecom Survey 2010 (Base: 1626)
Owner Intenders' Reasons for
Preference Towards the Internet
Helps give an idea about the cell phone
models/service providers in the market 82%
71%
50%
47%
46%
Access to updated information on new technology/
features/services for mobile handset/service plan
Provides scope for in-depth research
Offers a third party view as well
It is easy to access and convenient to use
16% 18% 8%26% 33%Internet Access
Price
Brand Name
Design/Looks
Features
8% 27% 9%30% 26%
11% 20% 6%40% 23%
10% 18% 5%49% 18%
15% 23% 8%33% 22%
2120
A substantial number of online mobile phone intenders look for mobile-
phone related information on brand/company websites. Information on
price, credibility of the brand, design or visual appeal of the device
preferred/intended for purchase, along with a careful scrutiny of various
features packed in the device, are often searched for on mobile
brand/company websites.
Consumer review websites follow as the next most preferred source of
information online. These offer independent, third party views, opinions,
experiences shared by existing/prospective mobile users and include facility
to compare various aspects of mobile phones.
At the same time, search engines emerge as online mobile intenders'
easiest tool to access to information and compare various brands,
features, price and other factors critical for evaluating consideration for a
particular brand.
For mobile phone marketers, this becomes a unique opportunity to
increase visibility through search engine optimization/marketing tactics
and make their presence felt among prospective consumers where they
most flock to in search of relevant information to determine their choice
of brand.
Search Engines and Consumer
Review Sites Enable In-Depth
Research for Online Mobile
Phone Intenders
Similar preference for various online channels is observed among online
mobile intenders searching for network service provider related information.
While most prefer to search company websites to determine the best
telecom operator suitable to their needs, they actively look for information
related to call rates/tariffs, discounts/schemes, value added services and
overall opinion and experiences about network connectivity on review
websites too.
Being the first and most easily accessible information source before
consumers, it is imperative for mobile brands to register a noteworthy
presence online and create engaging experiences for consumers looking for
mobile phone related information.
Source: Webchutney Digital Mobile & Telecom Survey 2010 (Base: 1626)
Attribute wise Preference for Online Channels
to Conduct Research for Network Service Providers
Attribute wise Preference for Online Channels to
Conduct Research for Mobile Phones
Consumer Review Websites Company Websites
Search EngineOnline Communities/Blogs
Social Networking Sites
12% 27% 7%43% 22%
Services provided online
by network service provider
Network connectivity
VAS
Cost/quality of internet access
Call rates/discount offers/schemes
13% 23% 11%34% 19%
10% 14% 6%53% 18%
12% 30% 8%31% 19%
14% 19% 5%47% 16%
Search EngineOnline Communities/Blogs
Consumer Review Website Company WebsitesSocial Networking Website
Source: Webchutney Digital Mobile & Telecom Survey 2010 (Base: 1626)
22
A majority of online mobile users employ the medium to cater to their
information needs. The online domain is teeming with information from
various kinds of sources with users actively contributing to and sharing
mobile related content and experiences in usage.
With a majority of online mobile users/intenders trusting social networking
websites for gathering views and feedback from their peers and social
circle for mobile phones, these emerge as viable substitute to the
traditionally popular word of mouth publicity. Consumer review websites
emerge as a one-stop-shop for information on mobile phones; including
experts' comments and platform for feedback.
Our survey indicates various reasons for preference for one online channel
over another as a valuable source of information, among which the ability
to conduct cross-product comparisons, opportunity to share feedback and
provision of genuine/authentic information are predominant.
Rationale for Preference
of Online Channels for Mobile
Related Research
Preference for Characteristics of Online Platforms
Online Communities/Blogs
Consumer Review Website
Company Websites
Social Networking Website
39% 17% 19%26%
Helps gather views/opinions/
feedback from friends & relatives
Offers scope to compare
prices/features/utility
Provides space for
experts’/users’ comments
Serves as a platform
to give feedback
Helps gather relevant and
genuine information
15% 31% 18%36%
19% 24% 22%36%
19% 25% 15%41%
24% 31% 13%32%
Leveraging Online
Influencers For
Greater Brand Value
Source: Webchutney Digital Mobile & Telecom Survey 2010 (Base: 1626)
25
Consumer Review Sites are
an Important Tool for
Information Exchange
With mobile related conversations gaining momentum online, the
need for mobile phone brands to monitor these conversations, map
the source of their origin and place of sharing, and make
themselves strategically visible in these domains is more than ever.
Survey results indicate 50% preference for consumer review
websites and 47% preference for social platforms for sharing
mobile related experiences.
Online Significant in Influencing
Brand Preferences and Consideration
Survey results highlight 63% mobile phone intenders admit to being
influenced by mobile related information accessed online in the form of
reviews, posts, recommendations, videos, audios etc. At the same time,
71% mobile owners online indicated that they share experiences about
mobile phones and service providers on the net. This suggests that online
channels are not just a source for 'curating' relevant mobile related
information, but also help 'influence' mobile users' attitude and
preferences for various products, and brands. Considering mobile phones
are high involvement products, this is not too surprising as every single
opinion shared leads to a deluge of useful insights and experiences posted
by many others.
Online Mobile Intenders Influenced
by Mobile Phone Related Views Online
37% 63%
Yes
No
Online Mobile Intenders sharing
Mobile/Telecom Related Experiences Online
29%
71%
Yes
No
Source: Webchutney Digital Mobile & Telecom Survey 2010 (Base: 1626)
Online Mobile Intenders' Preferred Medium
to Share Information on the Internet
Source: Webchutney Digital Mobile & Telecom Survey 2010 (Base: 1154)
Consumer
Review
Website
Social
Networks/
Platforms
Company
Website
34%
Online
Communities/
Blogs
50% 47%
39%
Other
1%
24
27
Potential to Create Positive Brand
Impact through the Net is Immense
81% online mobile intenders admitted to discussing the price of mobile
handset, while 67% exchanged information on features of various mobile
phones online.
Online platforms and forums facilitate a ripple effect around conversations,
inviting more opinions, thoughts and insights on them. Largely, experiences
shared online about mobile phones are positive (62%), showing vast
possibilities for marketers to become more active online and get consumer-
generated publicity for themselves, thus influencing and building a positive
brand image.
Source: Webchutney Digital Mobile & Telecom Survey 2010 (Base: 1154)
Experiences Shared on the Net by
Online Mobile Intenders about Mobile Attributes
26
Type of Experience Shared by
Online Mobile Intenders
34% 62%
Positive
Negative
Neutral
5%
Sharing positive experiences could in some ways be attributed to the 'pride
of ownership' of a certain mobile phone brand and model. Considering
mobile phones are associated with 'status symbol' for many, it is time for
marketers to revise their traditional approach and formulae towards brand-
building and embrace the online medium whole-heartedly in creating
compelling hooks for existing/prospective consumers.
Price of handset
67%
57%
81%
53%
52%
49%
38%
33%
27%
Mobile phone accessories
Call rates/discount offers/SMS plans
Brand Name
Network connectivity
Value Added Services (VAS)
Design/looks of phone
Access to internet
Features
Source: Webchutney Digital Mobile & Telecom Survey 2010 (Base: 1154)
29
With success stories and positive predictions for India's mobile phone sector
afloat, it is substantially clear that the future of the category will no longer
be in providing mere communication through the device alone, but would
become a part of the overall bouquet of services that will be offered,
particularly with the launch of 3G services in India.
Mobile handset players need to pay immediate attention to the mobile user
online today, who is more aware, conscious and thoughtful about making a
handset purchase. QWERTY keyboards, voice recognition tools, highest
megapixel cameras fitted in Android/Symbian enabled systems- are all
becoming least common denominators provided by all handset makers.
Consequently, the battle to differentiate between handset brands would no
longer be fought on grounds of feature differentiation, but on basis of media
used to strike a chord with consumers looking forward to mobile purchase.
While next-generation-ready mobile phones armed with latest features and
specifications are becoming a part of the product offering of all
manufacturers, like telecom service providers, handset manufacturers must
also realize that embracing the internet and creatively using the interactive
medium to fortify meaningful relationships with consumers online is the
way forward. In conclusion, we highlight the following observations to help
marketers gear up to this challenge:
With an addition of 16 million mobile subscribers monthly, the phenomenal
growth rate of Indian telecom sector including mobile phones is unknown
to none. Mobile penetration is 26% in a billion strong population and a
breakthrough 95% amongst online Indians. 50% of India’s population is
below 30 years of age and raring to go, with rocketing multi tasking
abilities and a constant need and desire to stay connected with their
friends, family and peers. Mobile phones are ‘enablers’ that help this group
achieve their goals, thanks to their ability to let them stay ‘mobile’.
High Penetration of Mobile Phones amongst
Online Indians and Increasing
Final Takeaways for
Mobile Phone Marketers
In Conclusion:
Seizing
The Opportunity
31
Internet has become the Primary Resource for
Research on Mobile Phones
High Replacement Demand for Mobile Phones
among Online Indians
Harnessing the Power of Social Media to Increase
Brand Value and Consideration is Important
On one hand India has a 50 million strong online population actively
looking, securing, browsing and hunting for information over the medium.
On the other, it has more wireless devices than all televisions and
computers put together, of which mobile phones form a major chunk.
Both segments are growing at a phenomenal pace, which must now be
channelized in the right direction through collaboration. Handset
marketers must realize that unlike TV and other traditional media, the
internet enables contextual targeting and provides access to third party
views and opinions, clearly supplementing any marketing strategy. With
89% mobile phone intenders referring to internet as their preferred source
for researching about mobile phones, it is evident that the stronghold of
friends and family, mobile phone dealers and newspapers/magazines is
gradually diminishing over the more demanding and more exacting,
‘connected’ Indian mobile phone intender.
The demand for mobile phones amongst current online mobile owners
remains robust with an astonishing 8 out of 10 current owners expressing
desire to purchase another mobile phone and 77% wishing to purchase it
within next 6 months. These numbers bear testimony to the opportunity
before handset marketers, to evangelize the medium and tap potential
audiences. The time is ripe to attract, invite and engage audiences online
by providing them compelling experiences.
63% mobile phone intenders online admit being influenced by mobile
phone related reviews posted online and 71% share mobile phone related
experiences on the net. 30-second spots with a tagline do not entice online
consumers as much as immersive experiences customized to suit their
interests. Consumers have become active contributors to media online, and
share information around price, features, accessories, brand names of30
mobile phones across a vast spectrum of platforms including consumer
review websites, social networking websites, blogs and company websites.
Marketers must match pace with their fast-moving ‘elusive’ online
audiences who are hunting and contributing to gadget/mobile phone
reviews across various online destinations before they completely disengage
themselves from mobile brands.
The future of the device is headed in a direction that calls
for a change in the way it has been marketed so far. The
choice is clearly between banking on harnessing
traditional methods to reach target audiences, or scale
for promotion and contextually use the interactive
medium to target audiences who are willing, capable of
making informed decisions and more significantly
harbor strong intent to purchase. It is now simply do-or-
die for mobile phone marketers to embrace digital at the
core of their marketing strategies.
32
The primary purpose of this study was to understand and analyze the
current usage patterns and attitude of an average customer towards the
online medium, and its impact on mobile phone marketers' perception and
usage of the medium to influence purchase decisions.
To this effect, a sample of 2028 respondents was taken from a panel of
consumers belonging to different demographics- age groups, socio-
economic classes, locations etc. Primary data was collected by means of a
questionnaire. The consumer panel was further classified into current and
prospective consumer mobile phone owners and intenders and their
attitude towards the use of internet was mapped. The period of the study
was August to October 2010.
Furthermore, credible secondary data sources were used to compile all facts
and figures used in the study.
Gender-wise Break up of
Telecom Users Online
Female
25%
75%
Male
7%
3%
26%
37%
26%
Age Distribution of
Telecom Users Online
33
Methodology About the Authors
Sidharth Rao is the Chief Executive Officer and
Co-Founder of Webchutney, India’s leading and
most awarded web services company.
With over 12 years of industry experience,
Sidharth has made a significant contribution in
shaping the interactive marketing industry in
India. Sidharth leads the 150 people strong
organization assisted by an excellent management team across New
Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.
He can be reached at sidharth.rao@webchutney.net
Sidharth Rao
Shweta Bhandari leads the research team at
Webchutney, which publishes thought provoking
reports on the state of online in India.
She carries a diverse business profile including
blue-chip companies like American Express and GE.
At Webchutney, she has contributed in writing
several research publications such as The Digital Vote Bank, Viral
Marketing and more recently the Digital Media Outlook 2009. Her
passion for discovery and thirst to engage in new challenges lend
immense scope and dimension to this field.
She can be reached at shweta.bhandari@webchutney.net
Shweta Bhandari
17%
19-24 Yrs
25-35 Yrs
36-45 Yrs
Above 45 Yrs
13-18 Yrs
46-55 Yrs
Base: 2028Base: 2028
34
Ankita Kapoor is a Research Analyst at
Webchutney.
She has completed her MBA in Marketing from
ICFAI Business School, Hyderabad. Prior to this, she
graduated in Journalism from Lady Shri Ram
College, Delhi University. She has interned with
'HPCL-Mittal Energy' (HMEL) and 'Business Standard' during her post
graduation and graduation respectively. Her strong analytical and
communication skills and deep interest in the field have lent new
perspectives to the report.
She can be reached at ankita.kapoor@webchutney.net
Ankita Kapoor
A special thanks to for conceptualising
and executing the report design.
Sushil Kumar

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Webchutney Digital Mobile Handset Report 2010

  • 1. Inside the Mind of the ‘Wired’ Mobile Phone Buyer Webchutney works with leading companies in India by developing award winning and memorable experiences for brands to connect, engage with and build sustained relationships with their consumers online. Our clients include Unilever, P&G, HP, Airtel and Microsoft among others. We work with them in areas of online advertising, website design, mobile marketing and social media. Ranked as India’s Number 1 Digital Agency two years in a row (Brand Equity Agency Reckoner, The Economic Times, 2008 & 2009), Webchutney is committed to leading the interactive marketing industry. We are a team of over 150 digital marketing professionals across New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. Visit us at www.webchutney.com for more information. Follow us on www.twitter.com/webchutney Join us on www.facebook.com/webchutney Delhi 7, Keher Singh Estate, Ground Floor, Westend Marg, Lane 2, Said-ul-Ajaib, New Delhi - 110030 Phone +91 11 32572301 - 04 Fax +91 11 29534136 Mumbai Abhishek 'G', 2nd Floor, Juhu Versova Link Road, Andheri (W), Mumbai - 400053 Phone +91 22 26365364, 26365380, 26365391 Fax +91 22 26364068 Bangalore NewBridge Business Center, 777/D, 100 Feet Road, Indiranagar, Bangalore - 560038 Phone +91 9845096692 Fax +91 80 25211515 ©2010 Webchutney Studio Pvt. Ltd. All rights reserved.
  • 2. ContentsContents Note: The term ‘Intender’ denotes respondents who are online mobile phone owners and intend to purchase a mobile phone Introduction ........................................................................................... 2 Executive Summary ................................................................................. 4 THE ‘CONNECTED’ INDIAN MOBILE PHONE USER.................................... 6 Substantial Mobile Phone Usage among Online Indians........................... 7 Internet is a Predominant Medium in Online Mobile Users’ Daily Lives ..... 10 PURCHASE INTENT AMONG ONLINE MOBILE OWNERS .......................... 13 Purchase Intent is Strong Despite High Level of Ownership ...................... 14 Replacement Demand Drives High Purchase Intent .................................. 15 DRIVING PURCHASE DECISIONS FROM THE LIVING ROOM ...................... 16 Internet is Most Reliable Medium to Research Information....................... 17 Perception of Internet among Online Mobile Intenders............................ 19 Search Engines and Consumer Review Sites Enable In-Depth Research for Online Mobile Phone Intenders.......................................................... 20 Rationale for Preference of Online Channels for Mobile Related Research. 22 LEVERAGING ONLINE INFLUENCERS FOR GREATER BRAND VALUE ........... 23 Online Significant in Influencing BrandPreferences and Consideration...... 24 Consumer Review Sites are an Important Tool for Information Exchange.. 25 Potential to Create Positive Brand Impact through the Net is Immense..... 26 IN CONCLUSION: SEIZING THE OPPORTUNITY ........................................ 28 Final Takeaways for Mobile Phone Marketers ........................................... 29 Methodology.......................................................................................... 32 About the Authors.................................................................................. 33
  • 3. 2 Introduction The Indian telecom sector has reached a watershed moment with the world's second largest mobile network (over 635 million wireless subscribers) and telecom subscriber base (671 million connections, growing 1 each month with 16 million subscribers) . Boasting of the lowest tariffs and cell phone rates in the world coupled with the recent launch of third generation mobile services (3G) across 9 Indian states, this sector plays a pivotal role in the world's fastest growing Information and Communications 2 Technology (ICT) market. With its contribution of 1.5% to India's GDP and the massive interest evinced by international players in the Indian telecom market, the high growth trajectory of this sector is an important milestone in the socio-economic development of India. From the time when India's first mobile phone was launched for Rs 40,000 approximately, and an outgoing call would cost a hefty Rs. 16-17 per minute, the rise and evolution of India’s telecom and mobile phone sector has been exponential. Privatization, technological innovations, rise in disposable incomes and pro-industry policies undertaken by the government have put the sector on the superhighway of growth. At the same time, cut throat competition amongst an increasing number of players has given birth to price wars resulting in aggressive slashing of call rates and advent of per second billing. In a fiercely cluttered and competitive market where the Indian consumer is spoilt for choice amongst mobile handsets and network service providers, generating visibility, catering to consumer preferences and creating top-of-mind recall have become formidable and eminent challenges for marketers. In such a scenario, rather than counting on traditional, one-way mediums of communication to influence existing and prospective consumers, a different approach towards cutting through the clutter and leveraging influencers with breakthrough innovation summon immediate attention. Indian consumers curate information from multiple sources which is typically product-related research and the internet has emerged as a prominent resource. In an industry where technological innovation is rapid, the need to provide accurate and timely information about the latest handset/plan becomes crucial for consumers to choose one brand over another. The internet, with its innate ability to provide access to a reservoir of information in various forms, is becoming the preferred choice for consumers using social platforms to compare, cull and voice their opinion to influence each other while sourcing relevant information. Evidently, while some mobile and telecom players have started taking note of the untapped potential of the medium and are investing their marketing efforts online, the scale and depth of these measures remain limited to a great extent. Brands that haven't looked beyond traditional media are losing out on potential access to 50 million Indians online and the opportunity to expand existing/acquire new consumer base. The online consumer base in India is a discerning lot which has significant experience in usage of this medium. Their consumption of media and information is more active than passive and most of them already own a mobile phone and intend to purchase another one soon. Mobile and telecom marketers have the opportunity to harness the power of this group to convert them as self- serving evangelists through tactical and meaningful brand engagement. Inside the Mind of the 'Wired' Mobile Phone Buyer takes a close look at the growing influence of Internet in driving purchase intention/decisions among online mobile users in India, while mapping their preference, attitude and usage of the medium. It equips mobile phone marketers with deep insights to existing and prospective consumers' online behaviour, which will guide and help them determine the way forward in adopting the digital medium at the core of their future branding/marketing efforts. 3 1 Department of Telecom (DoT) 2 Minister of State (Communication & Information Technology), Shri Gurudas Kamat
  • 4. Executive Summary It remains a fact that mobile has emerged as an effective interactive avenue blurring socio-economic and geographical boundaries across the urban-rural chasm as more than 50% of India's population are mobile 3 subscribers . While access to smart phones may not have taken the country by a storm, access to basic and upgraded models of handsets is a reality before us. Affordability of telecom products and services in India are reasons for their widespread prevalence and ownership amongst upper echelons of society as well as middle classes and now to a large extent amongst lower socio-economic classes too. 4 3 IAMAI *Refer Methodology 5 Year On Year Increase in Wireless Subscriber Base (Urban & Rural) (in Millions) Source: IAMAI *Figures do not include Rural Wireless Base Online mobile users are young with maximum in the 19-35 years age group*, prosperous and possess disposable income as well as desire to purchase newer and more number of mobile handsets. In a market like mobile phones, where clutter exists in terms of competition as well as marketing strategies, new media emerges as a relatively clutter-free and engaging choice for the marketers to interact with customers and gather visibility. Our report highlights the growing impact of the internet with a whopping 89% online mobile intenders relying on this medium as the primary source of information for mobile-related research. Brand/company websites, search engines and consumer review websites are popular avenues to conduct this research. 71% indicate they have shared mobile related experiences online and 63% admit to have been influenced by such online reviews, opinions and experiences. Added to this, out of all online mobile owners, 80% intend to purchase another mobile phone. What does this mean for a mobile phone marketer looking to consolidate and expand its user base in a fiercely competitive and cluttered market? Based on survey results, it is abundantly clear that there exists a strong prospective customer base online which is opinionated, does not hesitate to share positive or negative experience among online peers freely and is an extremely critical resource for mobile phone marketers to help reach and influence target audiences effectively. The onus of engaging this discerning customer base online lies with marketers who need to create immersive and customized experiences that are appealing and help promote positive buzz and brand image. Websites and display ads are just the first step in achieving this end, and it is time for marketers to expand the scope of their digital marketing strategies to grab attention and a larger market share. Year Subscriber Base Mar-07 165 Mar-08 261 Mar-09 392 Mar-10 584* Apr-10 601*
  • 5. The ‘Connected’ Indian Mobile Phone User Substantial Mobile Phone Usage among Online Indians There are a whopping 47.5million online mobile phone owners in India today. While the overall national-level penetration of mobile phones in India is at 26.5%, the relative penetration of mobile phones amongst online Indians is at 95% indicating that this group is highly mobile phone savvy. Accessing internet through mobile phones is increasingly on the rise and a vast variety of online activities are being pursued through it. 7 81% online mobile users own a GSM phone and a whopping 98% use prepaid connection over a postpaid one. With Mobile Number Portability in the offing, the cost of switching from one telecom service provider to another would be completely eliminated allowing users to hop freely among competitors while retaining the same number. This will intensify the war among mobile and telecom service providers to retain their current consumer base apart from increasing it further, and the need to create stronger recall value, increase brand consideration and maintain differentiation could become a formidable challenge in this saturated category. Penetration of mobile phones amongst online Indians Penetration of mobile phones amongst Indians 26% 95% Source: Juxt Consult India Online Report 2010
  • 6. 8 Source: Juxt India Online & India Mobile 2010 Report 4 Juxt Consult India Online and India Mobile Reports 2010 Entertainment in the form of social networking features as a significant activity pursued online through mobile phones. The launch of iPhone and a deluge of other technology intensive smart phones has given birth to a vast variety of applications that provide users' information and entertainment to keep them hooked and engaged. It is safe to say that online mobile users in India is a matured, discerning group which is exceptionally aware and conscious of trends in the mobile segment. 9 Most online Indians use their mobile phones as a 'communication' as well as an 'entertainment' device, and 1 in 4 online Indians access the internet 4 through their mobile phone. 'WAP enabled' data services and 'GPRS activated' direct browsing are the most popular mode of mobile internet usage. While 77% online mobile users access internet through their mobile phone for emailing, 60% use it for social networking and 54% for chatting. Increasing mobility of online Indians and enabling technologies such as smart phones with internet access helps them stay connected while on the move. Type of Connection used amongst Online Mobile Users Prepaid Postpaid 2% 98% CDMA GSM 19% 81% 98% Online Mobile Phone Users’ Frequency of Pursuing Various Activities on their Phones Daily 4-5 times/week 2-3 times/week Fortnightly/Monthly Source: Webchutney Digital Mobile & Telecom Survey 2010 33% 23% 21% 23% 25% 23% 24% 29% 38% 21% 18% 23% 45% 23% 17% 15% 52% 19% 17% 11% 56% 17% 15% 11% 65% 13% 12% 10% Watching videos Downloading music Chat Email Gaming Search for information (products/services) Social Networking For mobile phone marketers, mere online presence cannot push sales or ensure an entry into consumers' consideration set, typically when both features and services are easily replicated by competing forces. A conscious and sustained effort to engage consumers using the interactive medium can go a long way in informing and influencing online audiences about the presence, service offerings and efficacy of a brand. Type of Mobile Phone used amongst Online Mobile Users Source: Webchutney Digital Mobile & Telecom Survey 2010 Activities Pursued through Mobile Internet among Online Mobile Users Email Social Networking Searchfor Information 60% 77% Watching Videos 53% 48%53% Gaming Others 4% Downloading Music 48% Chat 54%
  • 7. 11 72% online mobile users have been using the internet for more than 2 years. This indicates maturity and valuable experience in the use of the medium specifically with respect to ease in searching/looking for information online conveniently. Experience in Internet Usage of Online Mobile Users 10 Internet is a Predominant Medium in Online Mobile Users' Daily Lives The number of online mobile users spending 2 hours or more on the net on a weekday is almost double the number of those watching television for a similar duration. Maximum online mobile users spend time on the net in comparison to other traditional media forms like radio, magazines and newspapers which trail far behind. Heavy internet usage can be attributed to the possibility of engaging in a vast variety of activities and unlimited interaction across demographies that can be pursued online. Source: Juxt India Online & India Mobile 2010 Report 87% online mobile users access the internet at least once daily while immersing themselves in a variety of online activities. This frequency is indicative of how internet forms an integral part of this group’s lives and explains their consequent reliance on it. Source: Juxt India Online & India Mobile 2010 Report Frequency of Internet Access amongst Online Mobile Users Once in more than a month 1-3 times a month Once a week Once in 2-3 days Once daily 2-5 times a day Over 5 times a day 1% 3% 1% 7% 30% 31% 26% Comparative Usage of Traditional Media Vs Internet* (Weekdays) Internet TV Magazine 26% 51% Newspaper 15% 4%7% Radio *Data indicates media usage of 2 hours of more More than 5 years Up to 2 years 2-5 years 47% 28% 25% Source: Juxt India Online & India Mobile 2010 Report
  • 8. PURCHASE INTENT AMONG ONLINE MOBILE OWNERS & INTENDERS 13 Search Purchase Intent among Online Mobile Owners With a large number of online mobile intenders logging onto search engines and social networking websites for more than an hour daily, it is a clear reflection of their online habits, behaviour and preferences. Online mobile intenders are on a constant lookout for information and with rapid launch of newer models of mobile phones, the search for information, particularly comparison of desired features and models becomes important. Source: Webchutney Digital Mobile & Telecom Survey 2010 Usage of Online Channels among Online Mobile Intenders In a cluttered market like telecom, new media such as the internet emerges as a relatively clutter-free choice for the marketers to interact with customers and gain enhanced visibility. The medium offers inimitable avenues for interactive, personal and measurable engagement with relevant audiences, unlike any other media. Upto 1 hour daily More than 1 hour daily Around 2-3 times a week Once a week Once a month or as and when required Social Networking Sites Consumer Review Websites Company/ Brand Websites Online Communities/ Blogs Search Engines 34% 20% 6% 7% 32% 8% 19% 41% 13% 19% 20% 39% 21% 19% 36% 2% 45% 37% 6% 11% 14% 18% 9% 12% 12% 12
  • 9. 14 Replacement Demand Drives High Purchase Intent Among online mobile phone owners, a vast majority have owned their device for a year or more. We also observe 77% online mobile intenders expressing desire to purchase a new phone within a short span of just 6 months. One of the major reasons for high repeat/replacement demand could be attributed to the entry and appeal of smartphones and transition from traditional handsets to new-age devices like PDAs, touchscreen and QWERTY mobiles. These have become major factors in influencing a discerning online mobile phone user to trade-up their old handsets for new ones. An attractive opportunity exists for mobile phone marketers to tap this segment online through unique engagement while adding brand value and increasing brand consideration. growing tide of low-cost mobile phones, enhanced product categories, Purchase Intent is Strong Despite High Level of Ownership According to Gartner, an estimated 117 million mobile phones were sold in 2009-10 in India while the expected figure for 2010-11 is 138.6 million. With low cost mobile brands competing with market leaders by providing perceived high-end features for less, the demand for mobile phones has increased exponentially across rural and urban India. At the same time, the trend of owning multiple mobile phones is catching up fast in India which could be linked with the growing desire to keep official and personal communication separate. Our survey indicates 80% of online mobile phone owners intend to purchase a cell phone. Rise in disposable income as well as monthly household incomes, along with the influx of devices to suit every pocket in the 15 years of existence of this market could be a reason for such high repeat/re-purchase demand. For many Indians, mobile is the 'first screen' they are exposed to, even before television or internet. Purchase Intention of Online Mobile Users Source: Webchutney Digital Mobile & Telecom Survey 2010 (Base: 2028) Owner Non-Intender Current Owner plus Intender 80% 20% 34% 25% 22% 11% LessthanRs6250 Rs.6250-Rs12500 Rs25000-Rs40000 Rs40000-Rs80000 5% Rs12500-Rs25000 2% 2% Rs80000-Rs100,000 Morethan100,000 Monthly Household Income of Online Mobile Users 15 Source: Webchutney Digital Mobile & Telecom Survey 2010 (Base: 1626) Time period within which Mobile Phone Purchase is Intended Within 3 months 3-6 months 9-12 months 7% 6-9 months 46% 31% 10% After 1 year 6% Less than 3 months back 6 months back 1 year back 6-12 months back More than 1 year back 14% 23% 20% 14% 30% Duration of Mobile Phone Ownership
  • 10. Driving Purchase Decisions From The Living Room Survey results indicate a whopping 89% mobile intenders online vouch for internet as the most reliable medium to look for information on mobile phones. The shift from dealers and mobile phone showrooms as the conventionally trusted source of information is evident with only 53% indicating preference for information through this source. Owing to the vast variety in mobile phone models and features, coupled with rapid technological upgradations, mobile phones fall high in the involvement product category, necessitating considerable time and energy spent in researching about them to make a final decision. Another aspect for consideration is the fact that today discussions and conversations that used to take place offline have started taking place over the net, typically with the rise of social networking sites and other platforms enabling exchange of news, views and reviews, including those on mobile phones. Internet is Most Reliable Medium to Research Information 17 Driving Purchase Decisions From The Living Room Source: Webchutney Digital Mobile & Telecom Survey 2010 (Base: 1626) Internet Friends & Family Dealer/ Mobile Phone showroom Newspaper/ Magazine Ad hoardings on road sides/bus stop 53% 89% 62% 55% 38% Preferred Source of Information for Mobile Phone Related Research among Online Intenders Radio Other 20% 13% 2% TV
  • 11. 18 With 53% preference, clearly the role of mobile phone dealers in influencing consumers' purchase decisions has diminished, more so as the zeroing in on the mobile handset brand and model today takes place much before a consumer enters the dealer's place. Rise in preference towards internet as a mode of research indicates evolution of empowered consumers, who are more in control of pre-purchase research, thereby making informed purchase decisions for themselves. Online mobile users’ preference towards internet over traditional media could be attributed to the vast engagement opportunities provided by the medium. Also, internet scores over other media in terms of variety of forms and topics on which information can be sourced, accessed and hunted from the comfort of one's home. Its interactive nature helps draw responses from people, making them an integral part of brand's communication and campaign. There is a strong link between online mobile intenders' preference for internet as an information source and inherent characteristics of the medium making it popular. 82% mobile intenders believe internet helps them get a better idea about all the mobile handsets/service providers in the market, while 71% are of the opinion that it entails access to updated information, which is critical for this category. Scope for in-depth research (50%), third party view (47%) and easy and convenient access to information are other reasons in favor of this medium. (46%) 19 Perception of Internet among Online Mobile Intenders Source: Webchutney Digital Mobile & Telecom Survey 2010 (Base: 1626) Owner Intenders' Reasons for Preference Towards the Internet Helps give an idea about the cell phone models/service providers in the market 82% 71% 50% 47% 46% Access to updated information on new technology/ features/services for mobile handset/service plan Provides scope for in-depth research Offers a third party view as well It is easy to access and convenient to use
  • 12. 16% 18% 8%26% 33%Internet Access Price Brand Name Design/Looks Features 8% 27% 9%30% 26% 11% 20% 6%40% 23% 10% 18% 5%49% 18% 15% 23% 8%33% 22% 2120 A substantial number of online mobile phone intenders look for mobile- phone related information on brand/company websites. Information on price, credibility of the brand, design or visual appeal of the device preferred/intended for purchase, along with a careful scrutiny of various features packed in the device, are often searched for on mobile brand/company websites. Consumer review websites follow as the next most preferred source of information online. These offer independent, third party views, opinions, experiences shared by existing/prospective mobile users and include facility to compare various aspects of mobile phones. At the same time, search engines emerge as online mobile intenders' easiest tool to access to information and compare various brands, features, price and other factors critical for evaluating consideration for a particular brand. For mobile phone marketers, this becomes a unique opportunity to increase visibility through search engine optimization/marketing tactics and make their presence felt among prospective consumers where they most flock to in search of relevant information to determine their choice of brand. Search Engines and Consumer Review Sites Enable In-Depth Research for Online Mobile Phone Intenders Similar preference for various online channels is observed among online mobile intenders searching for network service provider related information. While most prefer to search company websites to determine the best telecom operator suitable to their needs, they actively look for information related to call rates/tariffs, discounts/schemes, value added services and overall opinion and experiences about network connectivity on review websites too. Being the first and most easily accessible information source before consumers, it is imperative for mobile brands to register a noteworthy presence online and create engaging experiences for consumers looking for mobile phone related information. Source: Webchutney Digital Mobile & Telecom Survey 2010 (Base: 1626) Attribute wise Preference for Online Channels to Conduct Research for Network Service Providers Attribute wise Preference for Online Channels to Conduct Research for Mobile Phones Consumer Review Websites Company Websites Search EngineOnline Communities/Blogs Social Networking Sites 12% 27% 7%43% 22% Services provided online by network service provider Network connectivity VAS Cost/quality of internet access Call rates/discount offers/schemes 13% 23% 11%34% 19% 10% 14% 6%53% 18% 12% 30% 8%31% 19% 14% 19% 5%47% 16% Search EngineOnline Communities/Blogs Consumer Review Website Company WebsitesSocial Networking Website Source: Webchutney Digital Mobile & Telecom Survey 2010 (Base: 1626)
  • 13. 22 A majority of online mobile users employ the medium to cater to their information needs. The online domain is teeming with information from various kinds of sources with users actively contributing to and sharing mobile related content and experiences in usage. With a majority of online mobile users/intenders trusting social networking websites for gathering views and feedback from their peers and social circle for mobile phones, these emerge as viable substitute to the traditionally popular word of mouth publicity. Consumer review websites emerge as a one-stop-shop for information on mobile phones; including experts' comments and platform for feedback. Our survey indicates various reasons for preference for one online channel over another as a valuable source of information, among which the ability to conduct cross-product comparisons, opportunity to share feedback and provision of genuine/authentic information are predominant. Rationale for Preference of Online Channels for Mobile Related Research Preference for Characteristics of Online Platforms Online Communities/Blogs Consumer Review Website Company Websites Social Networking Website 39% 17% 19%26% Helps gather views/opinions/ feedback from friends & relatives Offers scope to compare prices/features/utility Provides space for experts’/users’ comments Serves as a platform to give feedback Helps gather relevant and genuine information 15% 31% 18%36% 19% 24% 22%36% 19% 25% 15%41% 24% 31% 13%32% Leveraging Online Influencers For Greater Brand Value Source: Webchutney Digital Mobile & Telecom Survey 2010 (Base: 1626)
  • 14. 25 Consumer Review Sites are an Important Tool for Information Exchange With mobile related conversations gaining momentum online, the need for mobile phone brands to monitor these conversations, map the source of their origin and place of sharing, and make themselves strategically visible in these domains is more than ever. Survey results indicate 50% preference for consumer review websites and 47% preference for social platforms for sharing mobile related experiences. Online Significant in Influencing Brand Preferences and Consideration Survey results highlight 63% mobile phone intenders admit to being influenced by mobile related information accessed online in the form of reviews, posts, recommendations, videos, audios etc. At the same time, 71% mobile owners online indicated that they share experiences about mobile phones and service providers on the net. This suggests that online channels are not just a source for 'curating' relevant mobile related information, but also help 'influence' mobile users' attitude and preferences for various products, and brands. Considering mobile phones are high involvement products, this is not too surprising as every single opinion shared leads to a deluge of useful insights and experiences posted by many others. Online Mobile Intenders Influenced by Mobile Phone Related Views Online 37% 63% Yes No Online Mobile Intenders sharing Mobile/Telecom Related Experiences Online 29% 71% Yes No Source: Webchutney Digital Mobile & Telecom Survey 2010 (Base: 1626) Online Mobile Intenders' Preferred Medium to Share Information on the Internet Source: Webchutney Digital Mobile & Telecom Survey 2010 (Base: 1154) Consumer Review Website Social Networks/ Platforms Company Website 34% Online Communities/ Blogs 50% 47% 39% Other 1% 24
  • 15. 27 Potential to Create Positive Brand Impact through the Net is Immense 81% online mobile intenders admitted to discussing the price of mobile handset, while 67% exchanged information on features of various mobile phones online. Online platforms and forums facilitate a ripple effect around conversations, inviting more opinions, thoughts and insights on them. Largely, experiences shared online about mobile phones are positive (62%), showing vast possibilities for marketers to become more active online and get consumer- generated publicity for themselves, thus influencing and building a positive brand image. Source: Webchutney Digital Mobile & Telecom Survey 2010 (Base: 1154) Experiences Shared on the Net by Online Mobile Intenders about Mobile Attributes 26 Type of Experience Shared by Online Mobile Intenders 34% 62% Positive Negative Neutral 5% Sharing positive experiences could in some ways be attributed to the 'pride of ownership' of a certain mobile phone brand and model. Considering mobile phones are associated with 'status symbol' for many, it is time for marketers to revise their traditional approach and formulae towards brand- building and embrace the online medium whole-heartedly in creating compelling hooks for existing/prospective consumers. Price of handset 67% 57% 81% 53% 52% 49% 38% 33% 27% Mobile phone accessories Call rates/discount offers/SMS plans Brand Name Network connectivity Value Added Services (VAS) Design/looks of phone Access to internet Features Source: Webchutney Digital Mobile & Telecom Survey 2010 (Base: 1154)
  • 16. 29 With success stories and positive predictions for India's mobile phone sector afloat, it is substantially clear that the future of the category will no longer be in providing mere communication through the device alone, but would become a part of the overall bouquet of services that will be offered, particularly with the launch of 3G services in India. Mobile handset players need to pay immediate attention to the mobile user online today, who is more aware, conscious and thoughtful about making a handset purchase. QWERTY keyboards, voice recognition tools, highest megapixel cameras fitted in Android/Symbian enabled systems- are all becoming least common denominators provided by all handset makers. Consequently, the battle to differentiate between handset brands would no longer be fought on grounds of feature differentiation, but on basis of media used to strike a chord with consumers looking forward to mobile purchase. While next-generation-ready mobile phones armed with latest features and specifications are becoming a part of the product offering of all manufacturers, like telecom service providers, handset manufacturers must also realize that embracing the internet and creatively using the interactive medium to fortify meaningful relationships with consumers online is the way forward. In conclusion, we highlight the following observations to help marketers gear up to this challenge: With an addition of 16 million mobile subscribers monthly, the phenomenal growth rate of Indian telecom sector including mobile phones is unknown to none. Mobile penetration is 26% in a billion strong population and a breakthrough 95% amongst online Indians. 50% of India’s population is below 30 years of age and raring to go, with rocketing multi tasking abilities and a constant need and desire to stay connected with their friends, family and peers. Mobile phones are ‘enablers’ that help this group achieve their goals, thanks to their ability to let them stay ‘mobile’. High Penetration of Mobile Phones amongst Online Indians and Increasing Final Takeaways for Mobile Phone Marketers In Conclusion: Seizing The Opportunity
  • 17. 31 Internet has become the Primary Resource for Research on Mobile Phones High Replacement Demand for Mobile Phones among Online Indians Harnessing the Power of Social Media to Increase Brand Value and Consideration is Important On one hand India has a 50 million strong online population actively looking, securing, browsing and hunting for information over the medium. On the other, it has more wireless devices than all televisions and computers put together, of which mobile phones form a major chunk. Both segments are growing at a phenomenal pace, which must now be channelized in the right direction through collaboration. Handset marketers must realize that unlike TV and other traditional media, the internet enables contextual targeting and provides access to third party views and opinions, clearly supplementing any marketing strategy. With 89% mobile phone intenders referring to internet as their preferred source for researching about mobile phones, it is evident that the stronghold of friends and family, mobile phone dealers and newspapers/magazines is gradually diminishing over the more demanding and more exacting, ‘connected’ Indian mobile phone intender. The demand for mobile phones amongst current online mobile owners remains robust with an astonishing 8 out of 10 current owners expressing desire to purchase another mobile phone and 77% wishing to purchase it within next 6 months. These numbers bear testimony to the opportunity before handset marketers, to evangelize the medium and tap potential audiences. The time is ripe to attract, invite and engage audiences online by providing them compelling experiences. 63% mobile phone intenders online admit being influenced by mobile phone related reviews posted online and 71% share mobile phone related experiences on the net. 30-second spots with a tagline do not entice online consumers as much as immersive experiences customized to suit their interests. Consumers have become active contributors to media online, and share information around price, features, accessories, brand names of30 mobile phones across a vast spectrum of platforms including consumer review websites, social networking websites, blogs and company websites. Marketers must match pace with their fast-moving ‘elusive’ online audiences who are hunting and contributing to gadget/mobile phone reviews across various online destinations before they completely disengage themselves from mobile brands. The future of the device is headed in a direction that calls for a change in the way it has been marketed so far. The choice is clearly between banking on harnessing traditional methods to reach target audiences, or scale for promotion and contextually use the interactive medium to target audiences who are willing, capable of making informed decisions and more significantly harbor strong intent to purchase. It is now simply do-or- die for mobile phone marketers to embrace digital at the core of their marketing strategies.
  • 18. 32 The primary purpose of this study was to understand and analyze the current usage patterns and attitude of an average customer towards the online medium, and its impact on mobile phone marketers' perception and usage of the medium to influence purchase decisions. To this effect, a sample of 2028 respondents was taken from a panel of consumers belonging to different demographics- age groups, socio- economic classes, locations etc. Primary data was collected by means of a questionnaire. The consumer panel was further classified into current and prospective consumer mobile phone owners and intenders and their attitude towards the use of internet was mapped. The period of the study was August to October 2010. Furthermore, credible secondary data sources were used to compile all facts and figures used in the study. Gender-wise Break up of Telecom Users Online Female 25% 75% Male 7% 3% 26% 37% 26% Age Distribution of Telecom Users Online 33 Methodology About the Authors Sidharth Rao is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Webchutney, India’s leading and most awarded web services company. With over 12 years of industry experience, Sidharth has made a significant contribution in shaping the interactive marketing industry in India. Sidharth leads the 150 people strong organization assisted by an excellent management team across New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. He can be reached at sidharth.rao@webchutney.net Sidharth Rao Shweta Bhandari leads the research team at Webchutney, which publishes thought provoking reports on the state of online in India. She carries a diverse business profile including blue-chip companies like American Express and GE. At Webchutney, she has contributed in writing several research publications such as The Digital Vote Bank, Viral Marketing and more recently the Digital Media Outlook 2009. Her passion for discovery and thirst to engage in new challenges lend immense scope and dimension to this field. She can be reached at shweta.bhandari@webchutney.net Shweta Bhandari 17% 19-24 Yrs 25-35 Yrs 36-45 Yrs Above 45 Yrs 13-18 Yrs 46-55 Yrs Base: 2028Base: 2028
  • 19. 34 Ankita Kapoor is a Research Analyst at Webchutney. She has completed her MBA in Marketing from ICFAI Business School, Hyderabad. Prior to this, she graduated in Journalism from Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University. She has interned with 'HPCL-Mittal Energy' (HMEL) and 'Business Standard' during her post graduation and graduation respectively. Her strong analytical and communication skills and deep interest in the field have lent new perspectives to the report. She can be reached at ankita.kapoor@webchutney.net Ankita Kapoor A special thanks to for conceptualising and executing the report design. Sushil Kumar