Deloitte Mobile Consumer Survey Confirms Changing Trends in Telecom

What is the best way to characterize how consumers think about and use their smartphones and services those devices enable? A few words come to mind, such as ‘indespensible’ and ‘ubiquitous.’ In the U.S. edition of its 2016 Global Mobile Consumer Survey, Deloitte explores this idea, examining the power of mobile—as a lifestyle hub rather than merely consisting of communication devices—and how it is creating new markets in many fields including payment methods, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

The conclusions drawn by Deloitte’s survey are informative to mobile operators and service providers as they navigate an increasingly thin line between network complexity and quality of experience (QoE), forcing them to invest in new and often risky technologies to avoid being left in the innovation dust.

Just how essential are smartphones to consumers? Here are a few eye-opening statistics from the Deloitte survey:

  • More than 40 percent of consumer check their phones within five minutes of waking up
  • During the day, consumers look at their phones about 47 times
  • More than 30 percent of consumers check their devices five minutes before going to sleep
  • 50 percent of consumers check their devices in the middle of the night


And what are people actually doing on their phones all those many times? Text messaging and email popular first-thing-in-the-day activities, but overall Deloitte’s survey showed that shopping is the no. 1 mobile activity. Watching TV and other leisure activities follow closely behind.

Consumers, Deloitte noted, are also increasingly interested in home-based IoT services (even ones they have to pay for), in-vehicle IoT and autonomous cars, and in-store mobile payments. Security and privacy concerns are among the reasons why these areas are still in their infancy, although consumers are increasingly willing to share information as long as they control what gets shared. 

Several other conclusions from the Deloitte survey may be of particular interest to mobile operators:

  • Decreasing allegiance to carriers – especially among the 15-34 age group, more consumers are buying smartphones directly from manufacturers rather than carriers.
  • Changing preferences when choosing operators – the top reasons why consumers choose a particular mobile operator is the cost of data plans, the availability and/or quality of 4G/LTE. They are most likely to switch operators over the cost of data plans.
  • Trendsetter age group shifts up – unlike in the past, when 18-24 year olds led mobile technology usage, that’s now shifted to the 24-34 year old crowd. This group has technological know-how and more money to spend.