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IDC profiles new wireless market segments based on application usage, awareness, and demographics
Posted on 26-Apr-2003 10:29 | Tags Filed under: News

Over the past year, the emergence of new wireless entertainment applications, including games, ring tones, and SMS, have helped move mainstream consumers from voice to data services. Meanwhile, many early adopters are already moving toward more advanced data applications, such as wireless Web browsing, email access, and location-based services. These migrations suggest that new classes of wireless users are starting to materialize, defined by their wireless application usage. IDC has identified and profiled five distinct user categories on the basis of their wireless application usage awareness, usage patterns, and demographic traits.

In January 2003, IDC conducted a survey among 2,776 U.S. online wireless users to examine their current perceptions, awareness, usage rates, and interest levels in new and emerging wireless services and content. Through cluster analysis, IDC identified the following homogenous and mutually exclusive classes of wireless users linked by their primary and secondary usage of wireless data applications.

  • Wireless Innovators (5.6 percent) -- earliest adopters of data services and content;
  • Productivity Pioneers (7 percent) -- early adopters who focus on personal communications that increase productivity;
  • SMS Users (15.9 percent) -- "txters";
  • Entertainment Junkies (10.5 percent); and
  • Mobile Resisters (61 percent) -- express little interest in wireless voice and data services

    Gaming, ringtones and SMS remain the most popular wireless data applications, according to the poll, although a vast majority of consumers (87 percent) claim that quality of service (including reception, coverage area and phone service) is the top priority.

    "The market is primed for more advanced wireless data applications. However, the identification of these new user segments implies that carriers' single-product, voice-centric marketing strategies may no longer be relevant in marketing next-generation data services,” said Dana Thorat, senior research analyst in IDC’s Wireless and Mobile Communications program. “By recognizing the different needs of each of the user segments, the carriers will be better able to adapt their wireless data service offerings to the market.”

    The segmentation implies distinct wireless data service adoption and migration patterns for different user groups, and a diffusion path for wireless data services into the mainstream. The clusters also indicate the need for carriers to adapt their service offerings and marketing plans, which are traditionally designed for single-product voice-centric service offerings, to leverage new opportunities and growth within the most lucrative segments, while recognizing that the most valuable target markets may be the most influential in the wider market.

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