Third-party software is a powerful influencer in the decision to purchase a smartphone or handheld, according to a recent Handango survey of mobile content users and their behavior. The in-depth results from more than 14,000 buyers of mobile downloads revealed that the selection and quality of third-party software had a "strong influence" or "somewhat of an influence" on 69% of the users' decisions to purchase their mobile devices. The availability of third-party software was also ranked as the third most important influencer in a device buying decision behind only "need in my personal life" and "need in my line of work".
"The rich data from our customer survey enables Handango and our partners -- including mobile operators, handset manufacturers, portals and developers -- to optimize content discovery, purchasing and usage, which helps us grow the overall mobile downloads ecosystem," said Randy Eisenman, president and chief executive officer of Handango. "This year, we're also very excited to make a subset of the survey data available to the public in an effort to spread awareness of the desires and needs of mobile content users."
Additional findings from the survey revealed that people who actively use mobile content on their smartphones and handhelds are more satisfied with their mobile device and less likely to change brands. Ninety-four percent of respondents indicated that they are "extremely satisfied" or "very satisfied" with their mobile device experience.
In the same survey last year, customers ranked "multimedia capabilities" as a minor influence in their decision to buy a mobile device. This year, customers ranked the multimedia capabilities of the mobile device as a more important buying criterion than price and the sixth most important criterion overall behind "need in personal life", "need in line of work", "availability of third-party software", "wireless capabilities" and "brand".
Seventy-one percent of respondents reported having purchased and installed more than five applications, not including trials and freeware, indicating extremely active usage. However, despite extremely high satisfaction and usage rates, two out of five respondents reported having difficulty licensing their mobile applications. Currently, mobile content providers employ a wide variety of licensing schemes which may lead to the high rate of issues.
Customers ranked "availability of a trial" was the number one influencer in their decision to purchase mobile downloads. While there was a strong desire to try applications before buying, respondents indicated that only very short trial periods are needed. Sixty-nine percent of customers say they need less than three days to evaluate an application and 29% said they need less than one hour.
The survey also uncovered a wide array of user preferences. Customers indicated that they are primarily interested in applications in four key categories: Business & Professional, Productivity, Utilities and Games. Yet, their specific uses within these and other secondary categories were excessively broad. When customers were asked which application led them to purchase their current mobile device, their responses ran the gamut with no single response gathering more than 5% of answers. This indicates a wide variety of personalization and professional needs which can only be met by a broad selection of mobile downloads.