Those not able to keep up with consumer demand for interactive and content-rich mobile services are likely to be penalized, according TNS’ annual TNS Mobile Life study. “Insatiable consumers continue to drive market growth for advanced mobile technologies, with video calling, live video and video downloads the next critical developments,” TNS says.

Content brands and partnerships are winning when it comes to consumers making purchasing decisions based on brand-name awareness as compared to handset manufacturers. It’s the ability of companies like Apple and Google “to deliver more effective, rich media experiences [that’s] translating to victory in the platform wars,” according to TNS.

Among other things, TNS found that:

  •  The number of mobile web users visiting social networking sites grew from 30% to 46% globally, and from 26% to 50% in emerging markets*, leapfrogging much of the developed markets.
  • Only 18% of consumers globally managed to upload photos or video directly to the web from their mobiles, during the same period, but a further 44% would be interested in doing so in future.
  • Consumers in emerging markets are more likely to want to upload content (49%), but more than half (55%) do not have the ability to do so.

“With mobiles increasingly becoming the primary device for internet access and communication, particularly in emerging markets, entertainment and multimedia features are a key requirement for engaging with consumers,” pointed out James Fergusson, managing director, Global Technology Sector, TNS.

The TNS Mobile Life study shows that social video (10%-15%) and live TV (9%-12%) were the fastest growing new services during the past 12 months. More than half of consumers (54%) are interested in video calling despite not yet having used the service, while half are interested in watching live TV (50%) or downloading or streaming video (48%).

TNS found that as markets mature, content and apps are a key consideration when consumers make purchase decisions. Handset brand is considered important across developed (44%) and emerging markets (77%); however, content brands are becoming more important. More than 1 in 4 consumers surveyed say that content and apps “are a key consideration at the point of purchase,” according to TNS. Partnerships will hence become increasingly important to handset manufacturers and service providers.

Tablets, meanwhile, “are already generating substantial momentum, with intended ownership rates as high as 31% in Asia and 28% in Europe.” Consumers tend to view them as complementary to mobile phones or as a replacement for a PC rather than a mobile handset, which is fortunate for handset manufacturers, TNS notes.

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