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Survey finds 'explorative youth' market driving mobile phone use in Canada
Posted: 25-Nov-2004 [Source: Ericsson]

[Early adopters ages 15 to 24 are heavy users of mobile phones are are services such as SMS, MMS, downloading games and music, emailing and sending pictures from their handsets.]

Toronto, ON -- Ericsson Canada Inc. announced initial study* findings showing that 63 percent of Canadians between the ages of 15 and 69 own a mobile phone -- a 7 percent increase since 2003. This figure is expected to rise another six points to 69 percent by 2005. The study also revealed that mobile phone subscribers report spending an average of 49 minutes a day talking on the phone.

Ericsson, a global telecommunications company whose infrastructure systems connect approximately 40 per cent of the world's wireless calls, conducted the surveys to identify consumer wireless trends. For the second year in a row, more than 2,000 Canadians from 10 provinces were interviewed in their homes about their wireless usage patterns as part of one of the most comprehensive surveys of its kind ever conducted in Canada.

"These results provide comprehensive insight into the types of mobile services and applications that wireless consumers find most appealing," said Vishnu Singh, senior marketing manager, Ericsson Canada. "We know that Canadians tend to talk a lot more than people from other countries on their mobile phone, and that the key driving force behind the acceptance of new wireless services beyond voice is a group that we've identified as the 'explorative youth' market -- tech-savvy, entertainment-driven early adopters between the ages of 15 and 24."

The study also revealed that 49 percent of Canadian youth surveyed use text messaging (SMS) on a weekly basis. This group enjoys browsing the Internet and sending emails, and is more likely to keep their cell phones on at all times and use it for chatting with friends.

By the numbers: Mobile Phone Usage in Canada

- Sixty-three percent of Canadians surveyed own a mobile phone, a seven percent increase since last year. Among the 10 countries surveyed by Ericsson, mobile phone ownership is still highest in Sweden at 93 percent.

- SMS use had doubled since 2003 and voice and messaging traffic is poised to take off with new MMS capabilities. Twenty-three percent of Canadian mobile phone users surveyed report sending or receiving text messages on a monthly basis.

- Canadians tend to talk a lot more than other countries on their mobile phones, spending an average of 49 minutes a day, compared to 27 minutes globally**. The study's respondents report making an average of six calls per day and spend approximately eight minutes per call.

- The survey reveals the mobile phone market is expected to grow another six percent within the next year.

- Sixty-nine percent of Canadians say they never leave home without their mobile phone, and another 37 percent say they keep their mobile phone turned on at all times.

- Sixty-four percent of Canadian wireless phone subscribers surveyed have a mobile phone always at their disposal, compared to 88 percent globally**. Meanwhile 27 percent of Canadians share their wireless phone with someone else.

Explorative Youth Market -- Driving Services Beyond Voice

Canadians between the ages of 15 and 24, are heavy users of both mobile phones and the Internet, and they are more likely to always keep their phones turned on at all times. Within this group exists a key market that Ericsson identifies as "explorative youth" -- a segment of tech-savvy, entertainment-oriented young people that are driving the wireless service market forward. With a proportionately high amount of disposable income, explorative youth are looking for new and unique content experiences that are fun, entertaining, and current.

- Explorative youth spend over one hour (average 64 minutes) each day talking on their mobile phone.

- Explorative youth are driving the SMS market. Forty-nine percent of these young Canadians surveyed use text messaging on a weekly basis.

- Camera phones have strong growth potential and represent the next stage in enriched communications. Ten percent of explorative youth are already using newly introduced multimedia messaging services (MMS) monthly, despite these services only becoming available in 2003.

- Explorative youth show the most interest in downloading games (43 percent), downloading music (47 percent), sharing a picture while talking (44 percent) and sending emails via a mobile phone (50 percent).

Canadian Consumer Habits

- The survey found 93 percent of Canadians consider reliable services an important factor when selecting a mobile phone service provider. This is followed closely by customer service and ease of use of services, both at 88 percent.

- Eighty-six percent of respondents report price of plan and services is a key factor in choosing a mobile phone service provider.

Internet Usage and Future Growth of Consumer Products in Canada

- More Canadians are discovering Internet use over mobile phones. The 2004 survey revealed that 57 percent of respondents did not know it is possible to access the Internet from a wireless phone, a 10 percent decrease from the 2003 survey.

- Since 2003, ownership of digital cameras has doubled to 29 percent and is expected to rise to 46 percent by 2005.

- By 2005, 74 percent of Canadians surveyed will likely own a laptop or computer, compared to 63 percent in 2003. 63 percent will likely have an Internet connection, compared to 56 percent in 2003, and another 52 percent plan to have high speed Internet, compared to only 34 percent last year.

* The study was conducted in August 2004 by Ericsson Canada Inc. and Ericsson Consumer Lab, working with Starch Research, a market research firm based in Toronto, Ontario. The researchers held 2,000 one-hour, in-home interviews with people 15-69 years of age across 10 provinces, representing about 72 per cent of the Canadian population. This group is considered the "base population" of the study.

** Ericsson Consumer Lab conducted similar studies in 10 countries around the world representing opinions of 600 million people. More than 14,000 interviews were conducted in Brazil, China, Japan, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the United States. In the spring of 2004, five additional countries were added: Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, and Australia. Results are considered accurate to within +/- 2.2 percentage points.

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