Results of consumer research published Wednesday by GSMA Intelligence indicate that nearly half of adult mobile phone users worldwide continue to use their handsets exclusively for voice calls and SMS text messaging.
Issuing its first-ever Global Mobile Engagement Index which “measures the level of engagement of mobile phone users across a wide array of use cases and services,” GSMA assessed inputs from a recent survey of mobile phone subscribers across 56 global markets which represent 80% of the world’s population. Respondents were classified according to four categories: (1) aficionados, i.e., heavy users of smart phone data and applications who were labeled as being the “most engaged,” (2) pragmatists, (3) networkers, and (4) talkers, who use their handsets the least and exclusively for voice and text messaging. Although demand for wireless broadband service and network capacity continues to surge in markets worldwide, GSMA study results indicate that 47% of adult mobile phone users qualified for the “talker” category during 2016. GSMA predicts, however, that the talker segment will shrink to 29% by 2030 “as users across the developing world become more engaged due to advances in mobile innovation, affordability and availability.”
Meanwhile, markets that were found to be the most engaged were South Korea and Qatar with a score of 5 and the U.S. with a score of 4.7. Other highly-engaged markets include Saudi Arabia, Denmark, Finland, and Australia. The report also found that, in some mature wireless markets that include South Korea, the baby boomer segment (adults age 51-69) was more highly engaged than the young adult “millennial” population. In other markets such as Myanmar, user engagement was found to be low in spite of relatively high levels of smart phone ownership due, in part, to “digital illiteracy and a lack of locally relevant content.” Stressing that “consumer behaviors are continuing to change as mobile devices get smarter, services grow richer, and societies become more connected,” GSMA Chief Strategy Officer Hyunmi Yang proclaimed: “there is a growing need to measure mobile user engagement levels to identify future industry growth opportunities.”