A report published by research firm Analysys Mason this week shows that younger mobile users (aged 18 to 34) favour data services much more than older consumers. It notes that more than 40% of these young smartphone owners use IP-based messaging, compared to 20% of users aged 65 and over. In the UK, 53% of 18-24 year olds are using IP-based messaging services.
The Connected Consumer Survey 2013 report contacted over 6,600 consumers aged 18+ in France, Germany, Poland, Spain, the UK and the USA.
When it came to SMS text messaging, 91% of 18-34 year olds used the service but only 67% of those aged 65 and over.
Choosing a new mobile service also revealed an age divide. When asked what they’d want from their next mobile provider, ‘more data’ was a bigger factor than ‘more messaging’ or ‘more voice’ in the 18-34 age-group, yet ‘more voice’ was a bigger factor than ‘more data’ in every other age segment.
Stephen Sale, author of the report and Principal Analyst for the Voice and Messaging research programme at Analysys Mason, said “Operators will note that despite the high penetration levels of IP-based alternatives, full messaging service substitution has not yet occurred. Operators should continue to embed the use of SMS in customers’ behaviour, particularly with younger users, by offering unlimited messaging plans. However, such initiatives should be undertaken alongside a review of the messaging feature set and any related initiatives such as RCS or telco OTT services. Additionally, the low penetration rates of VoIP services favour operators, but they cannot afford to be complacent. Following on from Skype, Facebook and Google are making advances in this area, and Microsoft is also expected to make aggressive moves later this year. Operators must ensure they are proactive with changes to pricing structures and the core feature set.”