Australian Online Shoppers Are Ready For Mobile Commerce

For a moment, allow me to speak as an Australian consumer, rather than as an eBusiness analyst. As a consumer, let me say this: In Australia, in 2011, I am truly surprised when I visit a favorite shopping site using my iPhone, only to find I must zoom, pan, and squint to achieve anything useful. It's not a good experience, and it makes it harder for me to shop. The contrast with the great experience I have with the best mobile shopping apps and sites could not be greater.

It turns out I'm not the only Australian online shopper to use mobile apps and the mobile web, according to my new report, "Mobile Technographics: Australian Online Shoppers." In fact, it turns out that Australian online shoppers tend to be sophisticated mobile users — even more advanced than the wider community of Australian Internet users as a whole. And for Australians who regularly shop online in certain product categories, the average level of sophisticated mobile behavior is even higher. For example:

  • 84% of Australian online adults who have mobile phones use them for more than voice — uses that range from SMS to consuming mobile video.
  • 49% of Australian adult mobile phone owners who regularly shop online for apparel, footwear, or accessories are also in Forrester's Entertainers category, meaning they buy content, apps, or personalized services for entertainment on their mobile phones at least weekly.
  • 38% of Australian adult mobile phone owners who regularly shop online for computer hardware, software, or peripherals are also in Forrester's Connectors category, meaning they use mobile email at least once a month, or they use another efficiency or productivity application like mapping.
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Mobile Research Needs Nonmobile Insights

With mobile usage becoming increasingly widespread and companies testing the water with mobile strategies, market insights professionals need to uncover consumers’ mobile behavior today and tomorrow. But with the pace of mobile innovation moving so rapidly, how can you keep up with all of the things that people are doing with their mobile phones?

In the next three years, would you expect people to use their mobile phones as wallets? What about as electronic passports? What about for space exploration? While that seems like a long shot, a New York state resident did just that — attaching an iPhone to a weather balloon, videoing the journey, and using its GPS feature to map its voyage (see link for the footage).

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Do Asian organisations still need IT departments?

The shift towards the empowered consumer and employee is no more obvious than in Asia - particularly in Singapore, where a recent Google study showed that smartphone penetration is a whopping 62% (compared to 31% in the US). In fact, of the 11 countries in Asia surveyed, four of them (Singapore, Australia - 37%, Hong Kong - 35%, Urban China - 35%) had higher smartphone penetration rates than the US (and amongst 18-29 year olds, 84% of Singaporeans had smartphones, compared to 47% in the US!). With many of the more populous countries having young populations (average age: Philippines - 22.9, China - 35.5, India - 26.2, Indonesia - 28.2 - see World Factbook), the gen Y factor is driving employees to question whether the current way of working makes the most sense.

With so many young, mobile and connected employees, it is no surprise that CIOs across the region regularly complain about the company staff self-deploying devices, applications and services from the web or from app stores. The attitude of many IT shops is to shut it down - interestingly, the whole concept of "empowered employees" is quite "taboo" in some countries across the Asia Pacific region. A CIO recently told me that "smartphones and social media have come five years too soon" - referring to the fact he is planning to retire in five years, and that these technology-centric services are proving to be quite a headache for his IT department!

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Understanding Russian Consumers

Russia is the largest market in Europe, with a population of more than 140 million people. Russia has a highly urbanized population, it has one of the highest literacy rates in the world, and its GDP per capita is higher than in any other BRIC market— all of which are important assets for long-term growth. Today, we publish our first report on this market — “An Introduction To The Russian Consumer” — using Forrester’s Russian Consumer Technographics® data to explore some key trends in technology adoption, including the following:

  • Internet and PC adoption in urban Russia is making a promising start. Internet usage in Russia has seen rapid growth over the past few years. Today, almost 60 million Russians are online, making it the second-largest Internet market in Europe after Germany. As fewer than half of Russians are online, it has huge potential for growth. Internet adoption is highest among younger Russians, but there is a very sharp decline for older generations. Social networking is one of the top online activities in Russia.
  • The mobile Internet is a popular way to get online in urban Russia. Nearly every urban Russian owns a mobile phone. The speed with which Russian consumers are adopting mobile technologies and advanced mobile activities is starting to change the way that businesses communicate with consumers. Mobile Internet penetration in urban Russia is already in line with the European average, with one in five urban Russians regularly accessing the Internet on their phones.
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