The Data Digest: Smartphones Drive Mobile Banking Uptake (EU)

A recent report from my colleague Alexander Hesse on 'The State Of Mobile Banking In Europe: 2010' shows that about one in eight European Net users with a mobile phone use mobile banking today — with SMS account alerts being the most common type. Many European banks like Rabobank and Lloyds TSB let customers set up time- and event-triggered text alerts, but currently, only 10% of European online mobile phone users actually use them.

We expect that 39% of European mobile phone users will use the mobile Internet by 2014. Why? Smartphones becoming the norm, more widely available, all-you-can-eat data plans, and more compelling content will drive uptake. Today's iPhone and BlackBerry users are, for example, already nearly three times as likely to use mobile banking as other mobile phone users.

The Online Panel Quality Debate Continues

Last week, I was in LA, hosting a session on online panel quality at Forrester’s Marketing Forum. I discussed the past, present, and future of online panel quality with Steve Schwartz from Microsoft, Maria Cristina Gomez from Procter & Gamble, and Frank Findley from ARS Group.

Online panel quality is still a major issue in the industry. The whole discussion started in 2006 with a speech by Kim Dedeker -- at that time, the VP of global consumer and market knowledge at Procter & Gamble. In it, she publicly expressed her concerns about online panel quality, how it affected their research results, and, as a result, the credibility of market research. In her speech, she stressed that, in her opinion, the industry – both research suppliers and clients – needed to focus on how to improve the overall quality of research. Her appeal to the industry was very successful. Many other research buyers weighed in with their stories, and the research providers took up the challenge. Since then, many initiatives have started, such as the ARF’s Foundation of Quality and ESOMAR’s 26 questions, as well as more technology-driven approaches like Peanut Labs’ Optimus and MarketTools’ TrueSample.

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The Data Digest: Brand Attitudes Of Online African Americans

In general, online African Americans are less well-off and spend less while shopping online  compared with other online consumers. However, several factors point to the opportunity of further engaging with this group. Our Technographics® research shows that African American online users are much less annoyed by the amount of advertising today compared with online users overall: 60% of the US online population agree that they are annoyed by advertising, versus only 39% of online African Americans. Furthermore, ads inform the purchase decisions that online African Americans make: Nearly twice as many African American online users (27%) as overall online users (15%) agree that ads help them decide what to buy.

Furthermore, 24% of online African Americans recognize that owning the best brand is important to them, compared with only 16% of all US online consumers. Therefore, brand reputation is a much bigger influencer in their purchase decision process.

The Data Digest: Media Consumption By Age (Europe)

There’s a lot of debate around which media channels consumers access and how much time they spend on each. Our Technographics® data reveals that young Europeans spend a total of about 40 hours per week on any type of media, and this number then declines with age. The biggest drivers of young consumers’ high levels of media engagement are Internet use and time spent playing games, both of which drop dramatically among older age groups:

However, these numbers are for the total European population and include countries like Spain and Italy, where Internet uptake is lower both in general and especially among older consumers. When we look at these numbers for the UK Internet population, for example, all age groups spend around 41 hours per week on different media activities. The total time spent doesn’t change much by age group, but the type of media activity does: Older consumers spend more time watching TV and reading newspapers than younger consumers, while the time they spend on the Internet decreases.

Declining Penetration Of Consumer Tech Products – Obsolescence Or Increased Usage?

One of the interesting elements of the forecasting job is the fact that not all of our forecasts trend upwards -- and people often forget that the dynamics of decline are just as important to a company’s bottom line. In recent years, for example, the attractions of notebook/laptop PCs -- such as lower prices -- have been eating away at desktop PC sales. In our recently published Forrester Research Online Population Forecast 3/10 (US),we estimate that household penetration for the desktop PC dropped from 73.9% in 2008 to 73.6% in 2009 and will fall further to 69.7% by 2014.

 The phenomenon has happened to devices like audio cassettes, video cassettes, and POTS (plain old telephone service) lines. Technology keeps moving forward and new technology replaces the old.  But with the desktop PC, there are two interesting trends at play:

  1. It’s evidence for the steady transformation of devices from household objects to personal ones.
  2. This personal orientation results in a proliferation of devices targeted at narrower consumer segments, which reduces peak penetration rates (I’ve written about this previously).

When Sony launched the original Walkman, it included two headphone jacks on the assumption that nobody would listen to music alone. But 30 years later, this has completely changed: Mass-market home hi-fi components have virtually disappeared as a product category because it’s now harder to imagine people sitting together at home to listen to music than it was to imagine individual listening at the dawn of the Walkman. 

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The Data Digest: Interest In Mobile Coupons

A recent published report called 'Mobile Coupons: Gold Rush Or Fool's Gold?' shows that both consumers and advertisers are curious about mobile coupons but that few consumers have trialed mobile coupons. Our Technographics data uncovers that only 3% have requested a coupon via cell phone, and only another 3% have actually used a mobile coupon. But mobile coupons help marketers reach new audiences, particularly those consumers ages 18 to 24 — 79% of whom typically spend less than 1 hour per week reading a newspaper. Younger consumers are most interested in mobile offers, especially for restaurants, drinks, and music/DVDs.

Advertisers will need to realize that some consumers — especially younger, new customers — may be mobile-only and that this mobile-only audience requires different promotions to encourage the behavior that merchants seek. Start with campaigns that are close to their heart (or mouth to be more precise) to win them over.

The Data Digest: Online Banking In Europe

Online banking has shown a fair amount of growth over the years in Europe. Forrester's Technographics® data shows that more than 50% of European Net users bank online today, up from about 35% in 2002. Northern Europe leads in the adoption of online banking, with 90% of Dutch and 87% of Swedish online consumers having used it in the past three months.

Interestingly, the countries that close the list with regards to online banking are actually leading the uptake of mobile banking in Europe. In Spain and Italy, about one in five mobile phone owners uses some kind of mobile banking — for example, to check their account balance, transfer money, or pay bills using text messaging (SMS) or the mobile Internet.