Those that have kept up-to-date with the technology headlines know that we are being treated to a trifecta of mobile phone gadgetry that our grandparents likely never dreamed possible. There are also plenty of new and impressive consumer electronics products on the rise. So with times of such technological progress in full swing, why is newly released research pointing towards less adoption of these devices and the services available on them?
A Survey on Usage
Before digging in too deep about the causes of such declines, let's look at the effects. Over 5,000 US respondents divided into three separate age groups participated in a survey for Accenture that helps paint the picture for mobile, consumer electronics and social networking adoption.
One thing to keep in mind is that this survey took place during December of 2007. Many things have changed since then.
Mobile Device Usage
When it comes to the usage of mobile devices, the numbers are quite lower than some might have expected:
* 88 percent never used a cell phone to watch videos
* 84 percent never used a cell phone to send e-mail
* 79 percent never used a cell phone to play games
* The 18- to 24-year-old group was twice as willing as those older than 55 to pay a subscription fee to have support via phone
Social Networking Usage
As for social network usage -- an area expected to experience plenty of growth, specifically on mobile platforms -- there were sharp contrasts among the age groups:
* The 18- to 24-year-olds were 10 times more likely to use social networking sites over those aged 55 and up (73 percent versus 7 percent)
* The younger group was also seven times more likely to write blogs or contribute to online sites (35 percent versus 5 percent)
Consumer Electronics Usage
Another area that has implications are consumer electronics spending patterns. These point towards the younger spending more, but the numbers are not carrying over to the mobile industry
* 38 percent of respondents spent less than $500 to buy consumer-electronics products within the previous year
* Spending was highest among 18-34 year olds, of which 17 percent of that group spent $US 1,500 to $US 3,000 on consumer electronics
* The 18- to 24-year-old group also heavily outspent those 55 and up where spending was more than $3,000 on consumer electronics
Reasons for Mobile Declines
Talks of lowered pricing, lowered contract termination fees, lowered data costs, increased coverage and open mobile platforms are just a few of the reasons for all the excitement surrounding the mobile industry. So the thought of people not buying into it is quite conflicting. There are, however, potentially numerous reasons for such declines.
One glaring reason for the decline of such adoption could be a result of the devices themselves being incredibly outdated. Just think about how many people are stuck in two year contracts that are coming to an end this Christmas. Those two year old devices were likely crippled to the point of stupidity, something that the inventor of the first cell phone isn't too happy about
Interestingly, one journalist is of the opinion that users should resist purchasing a phone this holiday season
. His reason: Better phones are on the way in 2009. With new Android-based devices in development
from phone manufacturers Motorola
and Kyocera, we can certainly agree.
However, it is likely the affects of the slowing economy are doing the most damage. Consumer confidence ratings are at new lows
and that will ultimately slow spending. Consumers, companies and economies are, of course, going to slow.
It might take awhile for things to get back to normal, but the technology industry is one of the leading sectors left in these times of economic hardships. Perhaps it will be the tech sector that ultimately helps restore confidence.