Research: KPMG’s Consumers and Convergence Survey

Analysts have been predicting the convergence of mobile technologies with online systems for years. They’ve been discussing the personal and business benefits of convergence as well as the future of mobile innovation. In 2010, for many millions of consumers across the globe, convergence is now mainstream.

Today we present an abstract of the KPMG’s Consumers and Convergence Survey. This is the fourth year that KPMG has conducted this global survey, including 5,627 consumers in 22 countries. The objective of the study was to identify consumer convergence trends, issues, as well as critical insight into the forces shaping the technology, communications and media markets.

The survey findings highlight the intricate relationship of the consumers’ converged existence, and how mobile devices are extensions of their online person. The responses indicate technology and mobile convenience are edging out consumer concerns over privacy and security. More than 90% of the respondents rank security and privacy as troubling issues. Yet, despite their anxieties, they are pressing ahead with convergence because the benefits are simply too good to pass up.

Paid Content or advertising?

An interesting trend is consumers’ willingness to either pay for specific content or accept advertising, a key piece of info for publishers willing to take the rights decision when choosing between paid or free content. Entertainment content, such as games, video, and music, have perceived premium allure. This is good news for technology, telecommunications and media companies looking for new business models to differentiate their value and capture new markets.

A significant 43 percent of respondents say they are willing to pay for frequently used online and mobile content, with consumers in BrIC far more willing than those in G7 nations. However, only 16 percent globally say they would pay for an entire site, with the remainder saying they would pay for some sections of a site.

BrIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) consumers seem more willing than others to receive advertising in exchange for cheaper or free content or services both online (61 percent BrIC vs. 49 percent G7) and on their mobile devices (50 percent vs. 30 percent). Among those willing to receive advertising, BrIC consumers are much more amenable to getting mobile ads in exchange for a wide range of cheaper or free mobile content or services. These data show that BrIC consumers are very attractive to businesses with the right mix of advertising supported content and services.

The results of KPMG’s Consumers & Convergence IV survey suggest:

• Marketers and advertisers can find consumers with “Information Sharer” profiles who are willing to exchange PII and accept targeted advertising for better prices on services or premium content.

• Consumers continue to believe most content should be free, but are willing to pay for some premium content such as movies and music.

• Consumers are increasingly concerned about the privacy and security of their information online and when using their mobile phones. However, consumers are willing to offer their personal information in exchange for something of value from trusted vendors.

• Consumers are open to the idea of cloud computing and are willing to use more web-based applications, but they are reluctant to store personal financial or medical information with cloud services.

• While many more consumers are comfortable using their mobile devices for banking and retail, the majority still are not. This provides an opportunity for financial services providers to reach and convert this audience influencing mainstream adoption of these services.

• Unlimited voice and data service plans are not an unqualified success with either consumers or, it seems, providers.

• Consumers in ASPAC nations and, especially, China and India tend to be more sophisticated users of mobile technologies.

• Banks and other financial-services companies have an opportunity to generate new business, attract or retain customers, control costs, and gain other advantages by deploying applications for mobile phone users.

• Retailers also have opportunities to attract customers with mobile applications.

• Telco and internet service providers with landline, cable, satellite and other connectivity investments might be wise to focus on data services, as it is often a more compelling feature than voice to consumers.

• Global organizations seeking to benefit from consumer use of mobile technologies may find their best opportunities in the ASPAC region or the BrIC nations.

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