The mobile consumer

In March and April 2013, SAP conducted a research study to better understand the appetite and behaviour of mobile consumers across the globe. Emily Jacobs and Eleanor Reader report.

In order to make informed marketing decisions and better understand mobile momentum and customer engagement, SAP commissioned independent research among mobile users across four key regions, encompassing 17 countries.


The global study surveyed 12,424 adults who own a basic mobile phone or smartphone, including 3288 mobile users from the APAC region, and 587 from Australia alone.

A report on the survey’s findings from the APAC region, which covered respondents from India, China, Japan and Australia, found that consumers across the region are demanding better and increased access to mobile services in a variety of industry sectors.

In the global context, Australia and Japan are considered emerging markets, while India and China’s mobile use is evolving. Because of this, it is imperative for organisations to bear their regional differences in mind when planning mobile strategy.

Why mobile users pick up the phone

APAC users turn to their mobile phone each day more than the global average.

While calls and texting are still the most popular activities, over half use their mobile phone on a daily basis to access the internet or email.

Activities such as banking via mobile and purchasing goods and services are above the global average, with 37 per cent of users using banking applications a few times a week and 37 per cent buying goods online. These activities are led by India and China.

Drivers of mobile adoption in APAC include being able to use mobile devices on the go (55 per cent), convenience (52 per cent), being able to use it day or night (50 per cent), and speed (49 per cent).

However, the main deterrent to mobile use as cited by APAC users is the hassle of having to enter a lot of personal information (45 per cent), privacy and security (41 per cent – this was particularly an issue for users in Australia and Japan), a lack of access to the internet (39 per cent) and a lack of immediate customer service (33 per cent).

Mobile buying habits

The various types of mobile purchases can by split into three distinct categories: tickets, bills and retail.

Overall, 67 per cent of users across the APAC region agreed that a greater choice in payment methods would encourage them to make a purchase on their mobile.

Those who have purchased tickets by mobile would use mobile more if incentivised by brands/services, and would like to respond to a promotion or make use of an offer.

Those who have paid bills by mobile would use mobile more if they had more confidence in security, and would like to research products or make a bank transfer via mobile.

Those who bought goods by mobile would pay more by mobile if they received regular order updates or greater choice of payment methods, and would like to sign up for a service/promotion or check the status of an order via mobile.

In the APAC region, those who chose to purchase goods on their mobile were most likely to buy clothes (49 per cent), books or e-books (47 per cent), or pay their telecommunications bills (46 per cent).

The most popular purchases for Australians were entertainment services (36 per cent) and books (29 per cent). However, these trends were not uniform across the region.

Mobile is the new wallet

SAP’s research found that ease of use is the main driver that will encourage overall adoption of mobile technologies. The idea of the mobile wallet – the use of the mobile to conduct financial transactions – was appealing to most users, especially from China, Australia and India.

At its current progression, the mobile is expected to become a loyalty card, cash, research tool, location tracker and credit card. This transition presents new opportunities and challenges for businesses as they try to capitalise on the growth of the smartphone.

Although there is a growing need for simplifying more complex tasks such as paying a bill or making a bank transfer, refined security (57 per cent) and an easy-to-use interface (53 per cent) would lead users to accelerate mobile payment activity.

Furthermore, access to free WiFi and receiving discounts or coupons were highlighted as additional drivers towards increased usage.

However, concerns about personal data security are still high, something companies should take into consideration when considering mobile applications.


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